Sandy Hook Promise offers tools to help students confined to their homes at risk of domestic violence, emotional abuse, bullying, and depression in the midst of the pandemic

Sandy Hook Promise is encouraging students and parents to take time during the week to help prevent youth violence by providing special online tools. This year, National Youth Violence Prevention Week, 30 March to 3 April 2020, comes as many schools close across the country and transition to distance learning whilst others continue to hold classes in-person.

“The ‘social distancing’ necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19 can increase other risks and concerns for young people,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

“Students confined to their homes can be at risk of cyberbullying, suicide and depression, and incidents of domestic violence and emotional abuse could increase. Physically distancing ourselves must not result in social isolation — especially for young people, who often rely on their peers and teachers for support.”

Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Clubs, an initiative of Sandy Hook Promise, is a founding partner of the National Youth Violence Prevention Week (NYVPW) campaign, which works to raise awareness about effective strategies to prevent youth violence before it can happen. To accommodate the disruption in classes due to the pandemic, Sandy Hook Promise adapted its NYVPW action kit to include activities students can participate in virtually.

These online resources are free and offer educators and parents valuable tools to keep young people engaged and safe whilst they spend more time at home and outside of school. Activities, suitable for students of all ages, are provided and they allow the entire community to participate — by volunteering to conduct virtual workshops and creating visual cues in their neighbourhoods to raise awareness about youth violence and drive social connectedness among other actions. The kit maps out a week’s worth of activities — making it easy for students, educators and parents to participate.

“Students and parents alike are figuring out how to cope with this new reality of physical distancing,” said Hockley. “By adapting our action kit to include communitywide activities, Sandy Hook Promise is helping students remain socially engaged whilst they are practising physical distancing.”

More than 11 million people have been trained in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programmes. Through these programmes, Sandy Hook Promise has averted multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides and countless other acts of violence in schools.

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