Amid growing concerns around youth mental health and school violence, students across the country are teaming up to participate in Say Something Weekan initiative led by Sandy Hook Promise to champion a culture that actively prevents school shootings.

In this annual celebration, thousands of schools and youth organizations will advocate for the importance of student upstanders and Trusted Adults who speak out to make their community safer. Say Something Week serves as a powerful call to action, educating students about the warning signs of violence and equipping them with the essential tools to become upstanders in prevention, rather than bystanders. Schools can participate in the week of action or join the celebration throughout March with various student-led activities, according to a news release.

Warning Signs

“More than ever, it’s important that we celebrate upstanders and Trusted Adults who take warning signs seriously and act immediately to make sure that our communities are safe places for students,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. “Our youth leaders are leading the charge to protect themselves and look out for their peers. Together, we can all be part of the change to ensure schools remain safe spaces where all students are heard, included, and supported.”

Students, parents, and educators can find more activities and resources on the Sandy Hook Promise Say Something Resources webpage, including a Student Training Guide with activities for engaging students while teaching the warning signs and how to take action, an Educators’ Guide with lesson plans to keep the Say Something message alive throughout the year, and a Virtual Activity Guide for students learning remotely.

More Tips

Ahead of Say Something Week, Sandy Hook Promise surveyed 25 youth leaders to gain a deeper understanding of their current school experiences. The findings highlighted the importance of educators and parents working together as Trusted Adults to create safer learning environments and communities – and underscored the need for programs that foster cultures that prevent school violence.

Some highlights from survey responses include:

Youth mental health remains a pressing concern. “The intensity of students’ stress, anxiety, and the complexity of their social interactions is often overlooked, dismissed, and invalidated…. Educators must take the time to understand and affirm the validity of student experiences, extending the necessary grace and support where needed.” – Student, Age 19

Teachers play a crucial role in fostering social connections. “[Teachers can] facilitate forming new social connections; not just, for example, by assigning group work and facilitating classroom conversations but also encouraging students who have just met each other to get to know each other better more personally and find meaningful connections.” – Student, Age Not Provided

Students want help connecting with diverse groups outside their peer set. “To support in fostering connections with peers, trusted adults should familiarize themselves with the diverse array of communities accessible to students within the school, including religious groups, LGBTQ+ associations, and cultural clubs.” – Student, Age 18

Participants

To date, over 21 million people nationwide have participated in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programs including Say Something, focusing on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence by training youth and adults how to identify at-risk behavior and intervene to get help before a tragedy can occur. Through these evidence-informed programs, Sandy Hook Promise has saved at least 593 young lives from suicide and averted 16 credible planned school shooting attacks, among countless other acts of violence.

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.

Source: Sandy Hook Promise