When it comes to acts of violence, including suicide and threats to others, most are communicated in some way before the incident occurs. In 4 out of 5 school shootings, the attacker actually told someone of their plans ahead of time. And in 70 percent of fatal suicides some type of warning sign preceded the act.
That’s the problem Sandy Hook Promise wants to solve. Their free program, “Say Something,” is designed to teach students in grades 6 through 12 how to recognize warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media. The goal is to prepare them to identify when someone may want to hurt themselves or others — and to intervene by turning to a trusted adult for help.
“We look forward to working in collaboration with Sandy Hook Promise on this important effort,” said AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. “‘Say Something’ can serve as both a social skills lesson for students as well as a professional development resource for teachers. Most important, it can help lead to safer schools, a commitment that as educators we all share,” added Hochadel, who previously taught physics in the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS).
“Young people are the eyes and ears of their schools and community,” said Mark Barden, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. “We can teach them how to properly identify and report threats, keeping themselves, their friends and their family safe. They have the power to save lives,” added Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was among the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed in 2012.
“This program builds off of what we have learned from the Sandy Hook tragedy,: said AFT Connecticut First Vice President Jean Morningstar. “Schools are supposed to be safe spaces for learning, so prevention of these senseless tragedies is absolutely crucial,” added Morningstar, who worked in public health policy for 27 years at UConn Health in Farmington.
for our previous report on the ongoing recovery efforts in Newtown Public Schools.
Child safety advocates are recognizing October 19 through 23 as “Say Something Week” in Connecticut and schools across the state are hosting events to raise public awareness. Sandy Hook Promise has also announced a $10,000.00 grant for participating schools and community organizations to apply for.
By registering, schools and youth organizations will be given digital access to no-cost and easy to implement “Say Something” training materials, presentations and a planning guide. The training can be done in an assembly, classroom or through student leaders and only takes 25 to 45 minutes.
If help is needed, Sandy Hook Promise can work with a school to deliver the program or provide trainers, if available. All related materials and resources are available at no cost to schools and community organizations.
to learn more about Sandy Hook Promise.