Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit group that teaches students and adults to detect signs of gun violence and deter school shootings, released a horrifying public service announcement Wednesday that shows school children using school supplies to try to fend off an attack.

The minute-long PSA begins on a happy note, with a smiling student pulling a backpack out of his locker saying “this year, my mom got me the perfect bag for back to school.”

YouTube video

But the spot quickly devolves into something much, much darker, with children screaming and running frantically though the halls of a school, using a new “must have” jacket to try to secure a door,  new tube socks to bandage a classmate’s wounds and a holding pair of scissors to fend off an unseen attacker.

The PSA, distributed nationally, ends with a, cowering, sobbing girl texting  “I love you mom” on her new cell phone as ominous footsteps come closer.

“It’s back-to-school time, and you know what that means,” the PSA says.

Co-founded by Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley, who both lost children in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012, Sandy Hook Promise says it has trained more than 7.5 million people to identify at-risk behavior through it’s “Know the Signs” program.

“So far this year there have been over 22 school shootings, and with students heading back to school, it seems sadly probable that we will see more incidents,” Hockley said in a statement.  “This is unacceptable, given that we have proven tools to prevent these acts from occurring. We cannot accept school shootings as the new normal in our country.”

She said Sandy Hook Promise’s goal with its latest PSA is to “to wake up parents to the horrible reality that our children endure.”

“Gone are the days of viewing back-to-school as just a carefree time, when school violence has become so prevalent. However, if we come together to know the signs, this doesn’t have to be the case,” Hockley said.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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