A chilling new PSA by Sandy Hook Promise is giving “Back to School” a whole new meaning this week, and it’s a message we can’t afford to miss.
The minute-long clip, titled “Back-to-School Essentials” features a handful of students showing off their new school gear. All the usuals: things like backpacks, binders, headphones, and jackets.
But all of these back to school essentials take on unintended uses as a school shooting sneakily erupts in the background.
“These new sneakers are just what I needed for the new year,” a student running from a shooter says.
“These new socks? They can be a real lifesaver,” another student says as she uses them for a tourniquet on a classmate wounded by a bullet.
In another frame, a boy uses his new skateboard to break a classroom window and escape, while another girl uses her jacket to secure a door handle from the inside.
The clip closes with a girl crying in the bathroom. The camera flashes to her phone as she texts, “I love you mom.”
“I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mom,” she says through tears.
Then the door opens and footsteps approach in an agonizing cliffhanger.
The PSA is part of Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” campaign, which seeks to educate students, teachers, and parents about recognizing the signs of a potential shooter, and intervening before it’s too late.
According to the organization’s website, signs of a potential school shooter or someone who may need help include:
- A strong fascination or obsession with firearms
- Excessive study of firearms and/or mass shootings
- Exhibiting excessive overreactions or aggressive behavior over minor incidents
- Gestures of violence
- Low commitment or aspirations toward school and/or future.
- Those who harm themselves or others
- Victims of long-term bullying
- Someone who brags about having access to firearms
Other potential threats include social isolation, threatening behavior and talking about plans for suicide. Get the full list of warning signs here.
According to Sandy Hook Promise, which exists to prevent shootings, violence, and other harmful acts in schools, 80 percent of school shooters told someone of their violent plans prior to the attack.
Based on several case studies and research, SHP has found that most mass shootings are planned six months to a year before they are carried out, and in almost every documented case, there were warning signs that were not acted upon or shared.