April 15, 2020 — Newtown, CT — March 2020 is being touted as the first March in nearly two decades without a school shooting, as children throughout the country are forced to stay home while schools are closed due to COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean the violence hasn’t continued. While no students have died as a result of gunfire on school grounds in March, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s K-12 School Shooting Database tracked several under-reported incidents, including a shooting on an elementary school playground with students present and a man in camouflage with a bump stock shooting at an occupied school bus.
In response, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:
“It shouldn’t require a global pandemic to stop gun violence in America’s schools,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “The key to preventing shootings in schools, homes, and communities from ever happening is knowing the warning signs of potential violence and saying something to get help before someone decides to use a firearm to hurt others or themselves. This is just as critical during times of physical distancing as it is during a regular school year.”
“While we’re not seeing school shootings in the news given the transition to distance learning, we are seeing a stark increase in the proportion of life-threatening tips coming into the Crisis Center of our Say Something Anonymous Reporting System — including suicidal thoughts, abuse, cutting, and other self-harm. This is evidence of the mental stress and anxiety that kids are facing during this difficult time,” said Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “Teaching students to recognize warning signs of potential violence and self-harm and when and how to take action is absolutely necessary to protect our kids. Federal grants from the STOP School Violence Act can provide the critical funding to bring this education into every school at no cost, so that this trend of decreased school shootings can continue until no other parent loses a child to gun violence.”
To date, more than 11 million people nationwide have participated in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programs that focus on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence by training youth and adults how to identify at-risk behavior and intervene to get help before a tragedy can occur. Through these no-cost programs, Sandy Hook Promise has averted multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides, and countless other acts of violence.
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. SHP’s mission is to create a culture engaged in preventing shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools. Through its proven Know the Signs programs, SHP educates and empowers youth and adults to recognize, intervene, and get help for individuals who may be socially isolated and/or at risk of hurting themselves or others. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Our words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. Make the Promise at www.sandyhookpromise.org.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579