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Research shows 80% of school shooters tell at least one person before they commit their act and 70% of suicide victims also give off warning signs. Through training to recognize and take these signs seriously and act immediately to report them with proven tools, the number of tragedies could be severely reduced.
That’s why I helped launch Sandy Hook Promise — to take on the mission of ending school shootings and their devastating effects by training youth and adults to prevent them, not endure them. We can end these tragedies and protect our children, our schools and our communities by recognizing the signs of someone who needs help and taking action.
I know this is true because of the intervention stories I hear every week from thousands of schools nationwide using our programs and anonymous reporting system. More moms will be hugging their children this Mother’s Day because millions of people knew when and how to speak up and get help. That means the world to me.
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I will never stop missing Dylan, his sweet voice, his big blue eyes and his love of deep, long cuddles. As I watch his big brother grow taller than me, I imagine what Dylan would look like now and what he would be doing. Would he still like repeatedly watching Disney movies? Would six squares of a Hershey’s chocolate bar still be his favorite after-dinner treat? Would he still love looking at the moon each night? He would be in 7th grade now — would he still enjoy school? What would he think when he heard the news of school shootings today? Would he be scared or would he think, like so many families do, that it would never happen at his school?
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When I hear the news of another active shooting, my entire body tenses and my heart starts to hurt. When it’s over, I wait to hear the names of the dead and injured; I wait to hear of the warning signs that were given off prior and (often) ignored. While my heart breaks for the victims and their families, my soul aches for our country as we collectively endure yet another tragedy that could have been prevented.
I know my work with Sandy Hook Promise has saved countless moms from this excruciating pain. But I never would have chosen this life. If I could change history, I would want nothing more than to spend this Mother’s Day reading cards and being with both of my boys.
Saving other families is the only way I can think to honor my beloved Dylan.
That’s the gift I want to give mothers everywhere this Sunday — the comfort of knowing that we are working tirelessly every day to ensure their kids are safe from school shootings. I never want another mom to send their child to school in the morning, only for them never to return.