NEWTOWN, Conn. – A sixth grade student was killed, and five other people were wounded in a school shooting in Perry, Iowa on Thursday morning – the first day students were returning to their school following the holiday break. Just four days into 2024, this tragedy is a stark reminder of the epidemic of gun violence that continues to plague our country, and an urgent call for action to prevent gun violence and ensure schools are safe havens for students, not battlegrounds.
Local officials have confirmed that the perpetrator had multiple guns in his possession during the shooting, and that an improvised explosive device was also found in the school. Early reports also describe a history of the shooter being bullied and posting threats on social media just before the attack. The school day had not even fully begun when the shooting occurred.
In response, Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, issued the following statement:
“We are heartbroken for the loved ones of the student killed in this tragedy and for those injured. The pain and anguish felt after a child is taken by senseless violence is incomprehensible. The trauma for all survivors and those impacted will be with them for the rest of their lives. We understand firsthand this nightmare journey and are here to offer support to anyone affected by this tragedy.
“For those who are asking what can be done to stop school shootings from happening, there are tangible actions that will protect our students and make sure schools remain safe places.
“Research has proven that empowering students and adults to understand the warning signs and take action, as well as fostering kinder, more inclusive school communities, are real solutions to preventing gun violence. Sandy Hook Promise’s tireless work with schools across the country has also confirmed this many times. As the new year begins, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to implementing these proven strategies and preventing future tragedies.”
Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund, and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, issued the following statement in response:
“As presidential candidates continue to campaign in Iowa, we urge them and all elected officials to prioritize sensible solutions to gun violence that protect students in schools and put an end to this public health crisis afflicting our country.
“We must continue to advocate for policies that keep deadly weapons out of the hands of unauthorized users and those who may be a danger to themselves or others. It’s imperative that our elected officials respond to this crisis by supporting sensible solutions that prioritize the safety of children.”
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. 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.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579