Sandy Hook Parents Release PSA Highlighting School Shooter Warning Signs

'The warning signs are there almost every time somebody hurts themselves or someone else.'

parents of a victim of the sandy hook shooting
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

'The warning signs are there almost every time somebody hurts themselves or someone else.'

The parents of children who died or were injured in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting have released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) video, intended to point viewers toward information about the warning signs of a possible school shooter, People is reporting.

This Friday, December 14, marks the sixth anniversary of the deadly school shooting, in which 20 six- and seven-year-old children were killed by a mentally disturbed man with access to guns. Six adults were also killed in the shooting.

Parent Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son Dylan was killed in the shooting, says this time of year brings back painful memories.

“In December, as I get closer to the (anniversary) date, I go on a large emotional rollercoaster. I was driving to the train station yesterday and burst into tears for no reason — well, I know for what reason.”

Hockley is a member of Sandy Hook Promise, a group of parents and others affected by the school shooting, which aims to prevent gun violence. And the group’s latest effort is a video, entitled “Point Of View,” which aims to educate viewers about the warning signs of a possible school shooter.

The video, which you can see below, is a fictionalized version of the events preceding a school shooting, told from the perspective of a school shooter. Be warned: this video contains content that may be disturbing to some viewers.

The video ends with the caption, “Most people only notice a shooter once it’s too late,” and then directs viewers to SandyHookPromise.org.

There, viewers are given more information about the warning signs of a potential school shooter.

So what are the signs?

  1. A “strong fascination with firearms.”
  2. Overreacting or acting aggressively over seemingly minor reasons.
  3. A history of being bullied or believing that they are being bullied or persecuted.
  4. Studying firearms and firearm techniques; studying previous school shootings.
  5. Easy and unsupervised access to firearms.
  6. Making violent gestures, and a sudden change in academic performance.

Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in the shooting, says that previous videos aimed at teaching about the warning signs of school shootings have worked.

“We have case histories and anecdotal evidence where mass shootings have been stopped and averted from the work we’re doing and from people following the model and uncovering something before it happens.”

Further, some school systems have employed the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, where students, teachers, and parents can report on a student who appears to be exhibiting signs that they might be a potential school shooter. Users can use a social media app, use the website’s anonymous tip function, or call the 1-844-5-SAYNOW hotline.