The Sandy Hook Promise — a non-profit group named after the 2012 school shooting — released a back to school video PSA that takes a hard look at the normalcy of gun violence in American Schools.
The video, called Back-to-School Essentials, begins with various clips of school children talking about how much they love their new back-to-school items like a backpack, colorful binders and headphones, before the sounds of screaming kids fill the background. In the clips that follow, new children show how they use various everyday items to survive a school shooting: a new jacket that doubles as a rope to be tied around door handles in an attempt to barricade classroom doors, a skateboard that can be used to break through windows, and supplies like scissors and pencils that can be wielded as a weapon if it comes down to hand-to-hand combat.
The graphic video ends with the most heartbreaking sight of all: a girl hiding in a bathroom stall with her new phone, which she uses to send a final text message to her mother as the sound of footsteps fall outside her door.
The jarring imagery, set against the initial jaunty feel of the video, is a stark reminder of the threat of gun violence in American schools. According to the non-profit site Every Town for Gun Safety, there have been 142 school shootings since the one that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary.
The 66-second video ends with the words “school shootings are preventable when you know the signs,” and directs viewers to the Sandy Hook Promise website. There, visitors can read about creating a culture of prevention when it comes to school violence.
The viral PSA was posted to the Sandy Hook Promise Twitter account last week. As of today, it’s been viewed 14.7 million times and retweeted more than 125,000 times. You can watch the video below, but be warned that it does contain graphic content.