A bold new public service announcement about gun violence is shocking viewers across the country.
If you’ve streamed TV online lately, you may have run into the PSA already. At first, it appears to be a normal commercial about back-to-school shopping. Kids brag about the new items that they got in preparation for the new school year, like a new backpack and new folders.
But gradually, the commercial takes an extremely dark turn. A boy uses his new skateboard to break a window to escape from the school. A girl grips her new scissors to potentially defend herself. In one scene, one student uses her new socks to wrap another student’s bleeding leg.
The commercial finally ends with a girl in tears on her new phone, texting her mom that she loves her as a supposed shooter can be heard walking into the room.
The PSA is the work of the non-profit group Sandy Hook Promise, which was created by parents whose children were killed in the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Watching the PSA is a gutting, emotional experience.
“I had to stop myself from crying the first time I saw it,” Mary Beck, 17, a student at Lyons Township High School in Illinois, told WBEZ. “It’s the first promotional video that I truly feel like I could be in that situation.”
Sandy Hook Promise releases PSAs every year, and some people believe that the videos go too far. But this particular PSA is unique in that it’s targeted toward adults with the goal of helping them understand how kids experience gun violence.
Co-founder Mark Barden said,
“Our students should be worried about just the regular back-to-school things like their clothes and their folders and their backpacks and their lunchbox. Not how to respond or hide or evacuate in a school shooting.”
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