Sandy Hook Releases New PSA Video

BY Alex Caruso

Staff Reporter

On Sept. 17, the nonprofit organization Sandy Hook Promise released a Public Service Announcement about “Back-To-School Essentials” for the upcoming school year. Sandy Hook Promise was formed by friends and family of the 26 victims killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, in Newtown.

“Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation by providing programs and practices that protect children from gun violence” is the opening to the mission statement found on

The video has amassed over 3.3 million views on YouTube and it contains shocking scenes depicting children during an active school shooter situation.

“I saw people posting about it on social media, but never got the chance to watch it until now,” said junior Madison Mobilia. “My first reaction was tears in my eyes.”

It begins with a boy taking his new backpack out of a locker and it ends with a girl scared for her life hiding in a stall, texting her mother that she loves her. With a running time of only one minute and seven seconds, the video quickly escalates as the children are required to use their new school supplies as a means of defense in this life or death situation.

“I first thought it was just a regular back-to-school ad, then it got very graphic very fast. Especially for something that does not have a viewing restriction,” said senior Sidney Choothesa. “I thought it was too graphic and maybe just a touch insensitive, especially for children who already have fears of going to school in the first place. This might scare them even more.’’

Since 2016, Sandy Hook Promise has released a PSA every year with the intent of preventing gun violence.

“Sandy Hook Promise has previously released other videos that were very powerful and helped raise awareness of warning signs and behavioral indicators,” said Edward Shea, Deputy Chief of the Department of Public Safety. “My initial reaction to this recent video was that their message is being conveyed in a different way and it is more disturbing to watch.”

The video follows their “Know The Signs” campaign just like the PSAs from the years prior. This campaign’s purpose is to inform people so that they can recognize the signs that someone may show before committing an act of gun violence.

Deputy Chief Shea created the “What To Do In An Emergency” presentations at Sacred Heart, which deals directly with what to do if a school shooting situation ever occurs on campus.

“The Department of Public Safety regularly provides safety training for faculty, staff, and students. The training provides an overview of safety procedures and various security protocols. It also incorporates specific information geared to help increase awareness, preparation, and response to emergencies, including shootings or other type of violent attack,” said Deputy Chief Shea.

“I think the work done by Sandy Hook Promise is so hugely important to continue to fight for ways to prevent school violence, and prepare people to protect themselves,” said Gary MacNamara, Chief/Executive Director of Public Safety & Government Affairs. “The video can be very hard to watch. I do not think it should be viewed in isolation. My concern would be the parents and students who watch it may be traumatized if it is not included in discussion on what safety measures are in place and how we all work together to keep our schools safe.”

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