Press Releases

National Youth Violence Prevention Week

National Youth Violence Prevention Week

March 30 - April 3, 2020


Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), an initiative of Sandy Hook Promise, is proud to be a founding partner of the National Youth Violence Prevention Week (NYVPW) Campaign. Founded in 2001, NYVPW hopes to raise awareness and educate youth and communities on effective strategies to prevent youth violence before it happens. This week long national education initiative will involve activities that demonstrate the positive role young people can have in making their school and community safer, and the role that everyone can play in preventing youth violence.

Now more than ever, youth are counting on all of us to help end violence. With more than 30 million students out of school due to the COVID-19 outbreak, social isolation -- one of the key warning signs of potential violence -- can worsen and go unnoticed. Cyberbullying is on the rise and feelings of loneliness are intensifying as children are required to shelter in place, away from their friends and school-based support networks.

That's why SAVE Promise Club has created tools and resources for NYVPW to be adapted for home-based activities so that youth can be connected during these times of social distancing. SAVE Promise Club serves as the crossroads to the campaign and provides countless resources to prepare for the event, including the official campaign Action Kit that serves as a step-by-step planning guide, suggestions for how each sector of the community can support the campaign, activity ideas, links to national organizations sponsoring the event, articles and interviews on violence prevention, and much, much more!

 

NYVPW Resources:

NYVPW Action Kit

Spread the Word

NYVPW Activities & Challenges

How You Can Help

Image and Graphics Downloads

Tell Us Your Plans!

NYVPW Sponsors and Partners

More Resources!

 

 

 

Statement from Sandy Hook Promise on the Mass Shooting in Springfield, Missouri

March 17, 2020 -- Newtown, CT -- On Sunday, five people were killed at a gas station when a lone gunman entered the store and began shooting.  This is the fifth mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

In response to this tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:

“My heart aches with the Springfield community, grieving for the five lives ripped away by gun violence and for the never-ending effects on their family, friends, and community,” 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. “We should all be able to go about our daily lives without fear of being shot. We should never accept or resign ourselves to the devastation of gun violence -- this is not the way to be in America.  We can prevent tragedies like this from happening by knowing the signs of potential violence and saying something to get help before someone decides to harm others or themselves.”

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Sandy Hook Promise Kicks Off Fifth Annual Say Something Week

Students across the country learn warning signs of someone at risk of hurting themselves or others

NEWTOWN, CT — This week, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) hosts the fifth annual Say Something Week, March 2 through 6, a call-to-action week when thousands of students nationwide will participate in Say Something activities and training.  The Say Something program trains educators and students in grades 6-12 how to recognize the warning signs of violence and self-harm — including suicide, bullying, depression, eating disorders and substance, physical or sexual abuse — and how to reach out to a trusted adult to get help. Say Something empowers every student to help others and their community by becoming upstanders instead of bystanders.

 

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Statement from Sandy Hook Promise on the Shooting at Molson Coors Brewery in Milwaukee's Miller Valley

February 27, 2020 -- Newtown, CT -- Yesterday, five people were killed on the campus of the Molson Coors Beverage Company in Miller Valley, Milwaukee when a 51-year-old employee who had been fired earlier that day returned with two handguns and a silencer and began firing on co-workers.  This is the fourth mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

In response to this tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:

“My heart aches with Miller Valley, grieving for the five lives ripped away by gun violence and for the never-ending effects on their family, friends, and community,” 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. “Workplaces, schools, houses of worship, malls, movie theaters: these are all places that we should feel safe going to without fear of being shot. We should never accept or resign ourselves to the devastation of gun violence -- this is not the way to be in America.  We can prevent tragedies like yesterday from happening by knowing the signs of potential violence and saying something to get help before someone picks up a gun to harm others or themselves.”

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Tragedy Averted at California School

Gun violence is just another part of life for students who attend Animo Mae Jemison Charter Middle School in South Los Angeles.

The school itself has become a refuge for students, while outside the walls lies an impoverished neighborhood where gang violence and homelessness are acute. One can’t drive through the neighborhood - where dozens were killed during race riots in the 1960’s - without seeing makeshift memorials hung from telephone poles where young men and women were murdered in more recent years.

Many of the students have become numb to violence.  But when several students trained in the Say Something program saw a 13-year-old classmate showing significant behavioral shifts and bragging about his plans, they knew it was time to act.

The students told a trusted adult, who immediately contacted the authorities. The student was found to be in possession of an AR-15, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a map of the school and several hit lists of students and staff members that the teenager wanted to “give presents to.” 

Students and administrators also found handwritten notes throughout the building warning about the threat, but nobody could tell who wrote them. It wasn’t until students spoke up about what they had heard that administrators and law enforcement sprang into action. 

The student exhibited many of the signs discussed in the program, including significant behavioral changes, pulling away from his peers, outright bragging to other students and becoming increasingly protective of his belongings.

“There is no doubt that lives were saved that day,” said Angela Rodriguez, the school’s assistant principal. 

The administrator credited the  training the students received in March along with a prolonged effort to create a culture of trusting relationships between adults and students at the school. Students who learned the signs already had a trusted adult they could turn to. 

Animo Mae Jemison Charter School is located in the center of Watts -- home of the infamous race riots in 1965 that left 34 dead and more than a thousand injured -- and the Rodney King riots in 1992. Because of the history, trust is something that doesn't come easily to some in the community. It has to be earned. 

“Students around here see school as just another government institution that failed them,”Rodriguez said. “As a result, we’ve done a lot of work to build strong relationships with our students and their parents.”

Several years ago the school instituted an advisory period at the start of the school day. Students stay with the same advisor throughout their three years at the school so that they can build a trusting relationship.

It was their advisor that the students trusted enough to approach in November, when their classmate began making the threats.

“Afterwards I heard from several students who said they had seen classmates with a gun in the past, but were too afraid to say anything,” Rodriguez said. “Fortunately, nothing happened here, but who knows what might have happened outside of school.”

The only way to combat the violence, she said, is to empower students.

“Most kids want to do the right thing, but they hear a lot of noise today,” Rodriguez said. “We have to become part of that noise. If we don’t, our message will get drowned out.”

Find out how you can empower students with Say Something

Statement from Sandy Hook Promise on Students Demanding Action After School Shooting in Bellaire, Texas

February 7, 2020 -- Newtown, CT -- Yesterday, students from Bellaire High School in Bellaire, Texas urged the public safety and homeland security committee members to take action on ensuring safe storage of firearms and providing gun violence prevention programs for schools. Their demands come in the wake of the shooting at their school on January 14 that took the life of 19-year-old Cesar Cortes.

In response to this outcry for action, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:

“It always hurts me deeply when I hear about another young life taken by gun violence. But the students at Bellaire High School and their call for change bring me hope and should inspire us all to take action,” 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.

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Statement from Sandy Hook Promise on the Shooting at Texas A&M University

February 4, 2020 - Newtown, CT - Yesterday, two women were killed and one child was injured at a shooting on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus, located about 60 miles northeast of Dallas.

In response to this tragedy, Sandy Hook Promise issued the following statement:

“My heart aches with the families of these women, grieving lives lost too soon, and with yet another school community reeling from a shooting. Schools should be among the safest places in our communities. For that to happen, we must all remain diligent in learning the warning signs that point to increased potential for violence,” 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. “Knowing the signs and speaking up immediately when seeing them are critical to preventing these tragedies from happening.”

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Sandy Hook Promise Announces Winners of Student Voices Contest

Winners Showcase How ‘Start with Hello’ Builds Community and Breaks Barriers

December 20, 2019 -- Newtown, CT -- Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that young people who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse and violence. Designed specifically to help create a more inclusive and connected school community, the Start with Hello program reduces the social isolation that can lead to violence in schools. Breaking down barriers to build community is the subject of the Start with Hello Week Student Voices competition.

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