In the wake of the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children (6 and 7 years of age) and six educators were killed on December 14, 2012, some of the grieving parents joined together to do what they could to prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again and Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) was born.
Nicole Hockley's six year old son, Dylan, was among those killed and now she, and others at Sandy Hook Promise, works to give educators and students the tools they need to recognize the warning signs and prevent violence from occurring.
SHP's Know the Signs program offers both students and educators training in how to be more socially inclusive and connected to one another. Research has shown that social isolation is one of the predictors of violence and teaching both kids and adults to be aware of this and how to combat it, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, is a critical piece of school gun violence prevention.
This conversation was one of those that I will never forget. Hearing Nicole's take on the impact of school shootings on kids, whether they've experienced a school shooting or not, was truly sobering. I also found myself uplifted by the reach of this program and the impact of the work that SHP is doing.
Among other things we talk about in this conversation are two Public Service Announcements that SHP has done. Please take a few moments and watch them, they give us insight into the experience too many of our kids are having. Teenage Dream, which is set to the lighthearted lyrics of Katy Perry's song, and Back to School Essentials are hard to watch and it's so important that we do watch and then take action.
Nicole Hockley is co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise where she oversees organizational strategy, marketing, and development of the acclaimed Know the Signs violence prevention programs. Under her leadership, the Sandy Hook Promise is effectively turning tragedy into transformation, averting multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides, and countless other acts of violence in schools across the country.
For a Written Transcript of this conversation click here.
1) Learn the signs of someone in crisis. Go to sandyhookpromise.org to download the free brochure with a wide range of signs to look for. Then if you see those signs take them seriously, act on them, get help.
2) If you're a parent or involved with schools make sure that mental health supports are a priority.
3) Vote for politicians that are running on gun violence prevention platforms. Vote for funding for programs that are going to help reduce gun violence. And use your voice. Those in charge need to hear from you.
Connect with Nicole:
Credits and Acknowledgements:
Harmonica music courtesy of a friend
Thank you to The National Liberty Museum for production support