A group founded after the horrific deaths of students and educators in Newtown is hoping to help break the silence when it comes to threats and suicides.
The Sandy Hook Promise group launched a program called “Say Something.”
It teaches students in grades 6 through 12 how to recognize warning signs, signals and threats from friends or individuals.
They can then intervene and tell a trusted adult for help.
"Most of the time, warning signs of violence are communicated in advance, such as on social media, or can be observed in a person's behavior,” said Mark Barden, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. “Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do with that information."
Barden lost his 7-year-old son at Sandy Hook Elementary School after a gunman stormed onto the premises and killed 26 students and staff in Dec. 2012.
"Young people are the eyes and ears of their schools and community,” Barden said. “We can teach them how to properly identify and report threats, keeping themselves, their friends and their family safe. They have the power to save lives."
Sandy Hook Promise said that in four out of five school shootings, the attacker told people his or her plans ahead of time. It also said that 70 percent of people who die by suicide told someone of their intention or gave some kind of indication.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said the program could be hugely beneficial.
“We know that early identification and intervention can make a huge difference in a person's life, especially if they are moving along the violence continuum,” he said. “Teens and adolescents can really help each other and their schools by looking after each other and taking action when they see, read or hear something that could lead to violence or demonstrates other at-risk behaviors.”
Malloy proclaimed the week of Oct. 19 to 23 to be “Say Something Week.”
Schools in 40 states are participating in training this week, taking charge to develop a culture of awareness and hopefully save lives in the process.
More information on the program can be found here.
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