Sandy Hook Parents Promote App to Prevent School Shootings on Tragedy’s Anniversary

The tech is rolling out to more than 600 school districts across the nation.

sandy hook app
Mark Barden, father of Daniel, a boy who was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, embraces his daughter Natalie as they perform during a March for our Lives Rally at Fairfield Hills Campus, in Newtown Connecticut on August 12, 2018. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Six years after 20 children and six adults lost their lives in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, their surviving loved ones are using technology to try to prevent it from happening again.

“Sandy Hook Promise,” a non-profit anti-gun violence group formed after the attack, is training students across the country to spot the warning signs of other would–be shooters, and how to anonymously report any concerns through a mobile app, referred to as the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, NPR reported.

The app had a soft launch earlier this year and is working its way up from being utilized in 150 school districts to more than 600 as of next month.

The app provides students a platform to describe what they’re seeing or hearing and add a picture, video or screen shot of something worrisome they’re noticing on social media or elsewhere. Those tips are then assessed by professional crisis counselors — who can instant message with the student — at a national call center who determine whether police intervention is appropriate.

Kids are acknowledging that the app works because they’re more likely to anonymously type something into their phones than physically go talk to a teacher or parent about their concerns. The app’s developers acknowledge that it’s difficult to gauge how many potential tragedies their technology might prevent but point out that in over 80% of school shootings, the assailant hinted at his or her plan to someone else, usually another student.

“I literally think about it all the time … (how) Sandy Hook could have been prevented and my little Daniel could be at home with me where he should be,” Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Mark Barden told NPR.

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