Better World

Sandy Hook Parents Release Heartbreaking PSA for Back-to-School Season

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The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation released a new PSA on Wednesday depicting children using ordinary school supplies to defend themselves from an unseen shooter. 

The video starts out as a seemingly upbeat message about back-to-school shopping and getting ready for the new year. It quickly takes a dark turn, however, as it becomes apparent that there is an active shooter in the school, and the kids must use whatever is within an arm’s reach to protect themselves. 

One child speaks about how handy her new socks are, as she wraps another student’s gunshot wound with one. Others wield scissors and colored pencils as potential weapons. 

The video ends on a disturbing scene of a girl hiding in a bathroom stall, whispering about how she finally has a phone so she can stay in touch with her mom. We see her text the words, “I love you mom,” before we hear a door creak and footsteps approach just before the video fades to black. We then see the message, “It’s back to school time and you know what that means. School shootings are preventable when you know the signs.”

Each year, Sandy Hook Promise produces a new PSA illustrating that gun violence is preventable when you “Know the Signs.” In 2016, their “Evan” PSA went viral with more than 1 billion views worldwide.



Mckenna Saady is a freelance writer and digital engagement consultant from Richmond, VA. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. She now lives in Philadelphia and volunteers as a foster parent for orphaned kittens with the PSPCA.