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Sandy Hook Promise Statement on Oxford High School Verdict

We applaud the landmark decision in yesterday’s trial of the Oxford High School (Michigan) shooter’s mother that puts partial accountability for the mass shooting on the parent – and establishes new precedent for parental involvement in the prevention of school violence.

The gunman exhibited critical warning signs, including obsession with firearms and violence, severe mental health struggles, and animal abuse. There were missed opportunities to intervene from trusted adults, particularly his parents.

“The murder of students at Oxford High School was preventable. Tragedy lands on our doorstep when people fail to act. This court decision demonstrates what happens when trusted adults, particularly parents, fail to make the right decisions. Protecting the community starts at home. We need to teach community members – including parents, educators, and others – to be courageous, know when someone is at risk of violence, and take action when they see warning signs,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan.

Community members, including parents, educators, and other trusted adults, are often the first line of defense in detecting – and responding to – the warning signs of a potential act of gun violence, and preventing the acts in many cases. We urge community members to learn more about the signs of gun violence and get educational resources.

Notably in 4 out of 5 school shootings at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it. Our communities do not have to suffer the consequences of missed signs or failure to report the warning signs.

Sandy Hook Promise is committed to partnering with schools and communities to implement proven measures that can help prevent school shootings and other acts of violence. Our resources help teach how to recognize warning signs including easy-to-miss warning signs, bullying acts, or behavioral changes, and intervene by telling a trusted adult or using anonymous reporting services.

Together, we must take action today to prevent violence tomorrow.


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. 

Media Contact:

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579