Sandy Hook Promise releases controversial back-to-school PSA

Story by Ashley Greene, Staff Writer

As students were headed back to school for the 2019-2020 school year, Sandy Hook Promise released a back-to-school video that featured kids showing off their “back-to-school essentials” consisting of gear needed to escape a gunman.

In one scene, a student says, “These new sneakers are exactly what I need for the new year,” as he is seen running down the hall to escape a gunman. In another scene, students use art supplies such as scissors for weapons. One girl is seen hiding from a gunman, texting her mom that she love her. She says, “I finally got a new phone so I can stay in touch with my mom.” 

This video is part of the “know the signs” campaign which is to prevent violence by identifying at-risk students. A quote at the end of this video, Mark Barden, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, says, “This is what our kids have to think about now, and they shouldn’t be.” 

The following are some reactions to the video from SHS students:

“I thought it was funny because it stood out as a regular commercial but then it turned around. It seemed normal to me because of how many school shootings there have been.” 

“I didn’t see it coming because it started out like a regular commercial. Then I got confused because they started running. Then I realized what it was. It was also a good message because it needs to stop and the ending was very touching.” 

“It kinda made me nervous about going back to school. It really shows how everyone is on edge about coming back to school. It’s good to be out there for an older audience because the younger kids could get freaked out.” 

“I  did not like the video because it was disturbing but it’s something you need to see. We all have these drills we have to do like the ABC. We always have to be prepared.