It’s the beginning of 2019 and North Atlanta is following through on their resolution to keep school safe and secure. After the break, administrators introduced the Sandy Hook Promise program, which included a training session and an anonymous reporting system. This initiative was put in place in an effort to boost existing security measures and encourage students to speak up about any concerns they may have about fellow classmates.
The Sandy Hook Promise, a nation-wide movement dedicated to preventing gun violence in schools, was created after the devastating 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Parents, schools, and other community groups came together with the common goal of drafting new school safety policies and developing mental health programs. The Say Something project, a branch of the Sandy Hook Promise, focuses specifically on preventing acts of violence in schools before they happen. Its aim is to educate students and teachers about possible warning signs for people who may be planning on hurting themselves or others, enabling others to intervene, and get that person the help they need.
The virtual training session provided tips on what to do when faced with these situations. Freshman Eve Harclerode found the session very useful. “It was a very beneficial and eye-opening experience. I’m glad that I now know things that could help someone who is struggling.”
The Sandy Hook Promise acknowledges that getting help for others can sometimes be a challenge, and that students may be hesitant to report things for fear of being labeled a ‘snitch.’ With this in mind, the group created a downloadable app titled “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System,” which allows users to indirectly disclose anything they deem suspicious or alarming to a crisis center. Trained professionals are available 24/7 to provide guidance and help resolve any perilous conditions To many, this app is a safe way to intervene in a potentially harmful situation all the while remaining anonymous. Sophomore Tyler Hubbard trusts that this source will be of use if anything is amiss. “I feel safer being able to give tips to the right people if I feel uncertain about something at school.”
If anything, the Sandy Hook Say Something program will make mental health a more frequent conversation within the school community. This experience is a reminder of the responsibility communities have to support one another and hold each other accountable. So the next time something seems questionable, have the courage to see something, say something, do something.