This year has been by far the worst on record for gun violence in US schools, the advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise said, citing research by the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).
The NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security counted 94 school shooting incidents this year in the US, a nearly 60 percent increase on the previous high, 59, an unwanted record set in 2006.
The NPS database goes back to 1970 and documents any instance in which a gun is “brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason,” regardless of the number of victims or the day of the week.
This Year, high-profile attacks in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, have intensified a national conversation about gun violence in schools.
Seventeen students and staff members were killed in Parkland. Ten students and teachers died in Santa Fe.
“This is beyond unacceptable,” said Nicole Hockley, cofounder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP). “It is inexcusable. Everyone has the power to stop violence before it starts and we want to arm as many people as possible with the knowledge of how to keep their schools and communities safe.”
Hockley’s six-year-old son, Dylan, was shot dead at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut in December 2012, with 19 other children and six adult members of staff.
In response to the NPS findings and to mark the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting on Friday, Sandy Hook Promise is to release a jarring public service announcement.
The short film “reveals the many warning signs and signals exhibited by an at-risk individual that can lead to gun violence — signs that SHP wants to train individuals to recognize and intervene upon before a tragedy can occur,” the group said
The video, made by director Rupert Sanders and Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, among others, shows a series of interactions between high-school students from a first-person perspective. Near the end, a student appears to retrieve an assault rifle from a bag.
“While the scene is set with excited students in the hallways, there is another story unfolding simultaneously: a shooter planning to attack the school and exhibiting the warning signs of impending violence,” the group said in a statement.
“These signs happen amongst peers and educators who could have identified these signs and intervened before it was too late. An astonishing 80 percent of school shooters told someone of their plans prior to taking action — yet no interventions were made,” it said.
The spot is an extension of the Know the Signs program, which Sandy Hook Promise said has been used to train more than 5.5 million people from more than 10,000 schools in all 50 US states.
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