HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday announced that the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) is partnering with Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) to help train students, educators, and school administrators how to identify, assess, intervene, and get help for those exhibiting at-risk behaviors through its Start With Hello, Say Something, and SOS Signs of Suicide programs. Through the federal STOP School Violence Act, Connecticut is receiving $500,000 to operate the programs, which will allow SHP and DEMHS to train over 116,000 students across the state.
“Today’s announcement is a crucial step in Connecticut’s efforts to prevent school violence,” said Governor Malloy. “We have made real progress since the tragedy at Sandy Hook – from passing some of the toughest gun safety laws in the country, to allocating more than $50 million toward improving school security – and Connecticut students are safer for those efforts. Sandy Hook Promise has been an invaluable ally in those endeavors, and this new partnership will train students to help prevent further tragedies.”
“I’m proud of this new initiative between the state and Sandy Hook Promise to help prevent violence in our schools,” said Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman. “The education and training of our students and educators is vital in stopping violence before in begins. I applaud DEMHS and Sandy Hook Promise for their continued efforts to keep our children safe in their classrooms.”
“We are proud to continue our work in our home state by working with the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to help keep Connecticut’s students safe by training them how to spot and report at-risk behaviors before violence occurs, as well as how to create an inclusive and connected community,” said Mark Barden, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise and father of Daniel, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “We know we can prevent violence through proven programs like our Know the Signs programs, and I am proud that we are able to train and protect more students across Connecticut.”
“This funding under the STOP School Violence Act will save lives and help stop school violence before it starts,” said Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy in a joint statement. “When we give teachers and students the resources needed to identify warning signs and at-risk behavior, our schools are safer. This funding is an essential step to enhance school safety, but we must continue to pursue common sense gun violence prevention measures to protect our children from the scourge of gun violence. Thanks to Mark, Nicole, and everyone at Sandy Hook Promise for their advocacy on this issue.”
The Start With Hello, Say Something, and SOS Signs of Suicide programs are three of four programs under SHP’s Know the Signs programs. Start With Hello trains students to be more socially inclusive and connected to one another, while Say Something trains students how to recognize signs, especially in social media, of an individual who may be a threat to themselves or others and how to say something to a trusted adult. The SOS Signs of Suicide program teaches students, educators, and school administrators how to spot the warning signs of youth suicide and how to intervene before self-harm occurs.
To date, Sandy Hook Promise has trained over 3.5 million youth and adults in at least one of its Know the Signs programs in all 50 states and have helped avert multiple school shooting plots, numerous teen suicides, as well as other acts of violence and self-harm.
“With so many reactive methods being discussed in regard to school safety, we are so pleased to have this opportunity to work closely with Sandy Hook Promise through the STOP School Violence Act to teach our students and educators proven prevention methods that will help keep our schools safe,” said Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora Schriro.
“Over the last several years under the strong leadership of Governor Malloy, Connecticut has become a national leader in reducing gun violence and improving security within our schools,” said Connecticut State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell. “By securing this federal grant and partnering with Sandy Hook Promise to provide training to students, teachers, and administrators, Connecticut is taking one more important step toward keeping students safe without turning our schools into fortresses or arming teachers in our classrooms.”
The STOP School Violence Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives before the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to build-off of the research and lessons learned from Sandy Hook and other tragic shootings, and scale proven, evidence-based early intervention programming to schools across the country to prevent future school shootings, suicides, and other forms of school violence. It was passed and signed into law in March as part of the FY2018 omnibus funding bill. Sandy Hook Promise proudly worked with Republicans and Democrats to write and pass this legislation.