New PSA creates controversy

The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, based out of Newtown, Connecticut, released a back to school PSA on September 18, 2019 in order to bring attention to the issue of normalizing school shootings today.

The PSA displays a video on “Back-to-School Essentials” and shows middle school students using school items as tools for survival in the occurrence of a school shooting: new sneakers to help a student run to safety, a new jacket to help tie a door shut, a new skateboard to break open a window, a new pair of scissors to use as a weapon, and many other items that were not meant to benefit students in survival.

The PSA tugs at the audience’s heart strings and shocks with its evocative scenes. The final scene shows a young girl hiding in a bathroom stall as a school shooter enters. She texts her mom that she loves her for what will be the last time. 

The PSA created controversy since some viewers think the video strikes too much fear in children who see the video. However, the intent of the advertisement was not to scare children, but to help and serve as a reminder to spread awareness to hopefully stop the shootings before they happen. 

“It’s meant to be an intense video,” Nicole Hockley, managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, told CNN on Wednesday. Her son was six year old Dylan Hockley who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.

The past year, 2018, has been one of the deadliest years on record for school violence.There have been twenty-four school shootings that have resulted in one hundred thirteen deaths or injuries in 2018. It has become normal that students and families fear every single day.

The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation is a national, nonprofit organization led by the families of those lost in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Their goal is to try to prevent gun violence before it happens, as well as to educate individuals about what to do in the event of a shooting. Its previous PSAs include award-winning “Evan” and “Point of View” which were viewed over one hundred million times.

The recent PSA video is their biggest campaign to date. The ad is expected to get a boost of two million dollars in donated media placements from many organizations.