Interventions Against Gun Violence in Schools: What Can Be Done to Stop Shootings?

+2023

Interventions Against Gun Violence in Schools: What Can Be Done to Stop Shootings? +2023

With that in mind, our school has two Sandy Hook Promise programs: The first is Start With Hello, where we learn to recognize the signs of loneliness and social isolation. Through a variety of activities and events, we learn how to reach out to others and help them feel included. With Say Something, students and teachers are trained to seek Warning signals, especially on social media, to prevent school shootings and violence. Warning signs can include excessive social isolation, experiencing or participating in extreme bullying, thoughts and conversations about self-harm, boasting about access to guns, and more. People at risk may show sudden changes in behavior and personality.

That I have learned in four out of five school shootings, at least one person knew of the attacker’s intent but did not report it. To strengthen our ability to prevent violence, students identify and work with trusted adults who can help them address personal or perceived threats and concerns.

By learning to stand up and “say something” in our school community, we save lives by looking out for one another. Students and teachers can be trained in Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something anonymous reporting system, an app, hotline and dedicated website linked to their national crisis center. As a result, Sandy Hook has Promise averted at least 11 credibly planned school shootings and helped more than 2,800 students in a mental health crisis.

Someone spoke up this Tuesday. Whether it was a hoax or a credible threat, I am deeply grateful that they chose to be a rioter.

But even that Tuesday, the chaos didn’t end for many of us when we went home. Screenshots of text messages sent by the student circulated and went viral throughout the school community. Later, our school resource officer informed us that the tip our school received was the threat of a gun on campus. We also learned that the trauma was not limited to our campus: Other schools had received bomb threats and were also being evacuated or locked down.

Whether or not the person intended to act on their plan that day, it had failed. The general mood was that there were plans for violence and that our school was in danger. I was afraid to go to school the next day. But I went because we always do it that way. It’s good. To breathe. That is normal.”

This is what drives my gun violence prevention activism. That shouldn’t be our norm. A lockdown shouldn’t be just another Tuesday at school in America. It pushes and pushes me to uplift, inform and change the culture in the schools. If we, as young people, can be part of the conversation and advocate to ensure that schools and communities have gun violence prevention programs and resources, future generations will not have to endure these debilitating fears.

For generations to come, Tuesdays should have a new normal: your school days should feel safe and filled only with curiosity, community, and connection. This is our legacy as we work together to keep our schools safe.

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