“Survive the school year with these must-have back to school essentials,” reads the YouTube caption for the newest video posted to Sandy Hook Promise’s channel this week. The words sound like typical language for this time of year, but if you watch the nearly one-minute clip, you’ll soon realize that the message isn’t typical at all.
In the heart-wrenching public service announcement, commonplace back-to-school items like a bookbag, headphones, folders, and even a skateboard are flipped to serve a double purpose for helping kids get through a school shooting. The video was produced by the anti-violence organization founded by parents of those who were lost in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings in 2012.
Nicole Hockley, a co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise and the mother of Dylan Hockley who was killed at 6-years-old in the shooting, spoke to the CBS Evening News’ Jim Axelrod about the intention for the video. “Parents need to have that emotional gut-punch,” Hockley said of the PSA that was designed to shock watchers. She also added that the fear of being caught in the crosshairs of a gun is what students are dealing with every day. “That’s why we have to take action,” she affirmed.
In the final scene of the widely-viewed video, a young girl is hiding in what seems to be a bathroom stall and sends a text to her mother saying “I love you.” The footsteps of what can be assumed to be a gunman are inching closer. The video then goes dark.
Hockley told Today that “the girl with the phone gets me every time.” But also added, “We don’t want people to turn away from it. Pretending it doesn’t exist is not going to solve it.”
The group says that the PSA is not political in nature. They simply hope that it will trigger a change that’s in the best interest of America’s schoolchildren.