Viewers left 'hysterically crying' at new video from Sandy Hook parents

19 September 2019, 19:35

The video was released for the beginning of the school term
The video was released for the beginning of the school term. Picture: Sandy Hook Promise
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Relatives of those killed in the Sandy Hook shooting have released a new “gut punching” video detailing the ways students can use their back-to-school accessories to survive an attack at school.

The video, released by the Sandy Hook Promise non-profit, starts out with several shots of schoolchildren showing off their new essentials for the beginning of the school year.

But the tone soon sours when students are then forced to demonstrate how these accessories can also be used to survive a shooting — one uses his new skateboard to smash a window to escape, while another uses her jumper to tie a door shut.

Football socks can be used as tourniquets for those who are injured, the video continues, and stationary can be used as a defensive weapon.

One girl, seen hiding in a toilet stall, uses her new mobile phone to send the message: “I love you mum”, before someone is heard entering the room.

“It’s back to school time,” the video adds. “And you know what that means.”

Since its release on Wednesday, the video has been viewed millions of times, with 10.6 million people watching on Twitter, and a further 1.5 million on YouTube.

It has also been subject to widespread reaction, with some parents saying they were left “hysterically crying” thinking about the safety of their own children.

US filmmaker Kevin Smith said the video was both “incredibly well-made” and a “devastating take on school shootings that ends so disturbingly”.

He added: “I had to text my 20-year-old kid to make sure she was okay. She is...and yet, I’m still crying.”

Hollywood actress Patricia Arquette tweeted about the “powerful message” created in the footage, adding that it was “heartbreaking” to know “it is real”.

“We are putting our kids through this,” she wrote. “And we do not need to.”

Monica Lewinskey said it was “breaking my heart” to think the video could represent a “chilling new normal for young people going back to school.”

Another parent said she was "hysterically crying" thinking about her children aged five and six after watching the footage.

"My six-year-old learned how to hide from a shooter before she learned how to write her name," she wrote.

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy added: "If you feel a gut punch watching this new PSA from Sandy Hook Promise (and I promise you will), today is the day to ask yourself what you are going to do to help stop school shootings."

Meanwhile, Delaney Tarr, a survivor of the Parkland high school shooting in Florida, recalled how she had text her mother during the incident in 2018: “Thinking I was going to die.”

The text read: “I love you if anything happens.”

“This is so harrowing, so true,” Ms Tarr then said of the Sandy Hook advert. “Watch it.”

Speaking to NBC, Sandy Hook parent Nicole Hockley said the aim of the video was not to make people turn away.

“So pretending it doesn’t exist is not helping to solve it,” she said, adding: “At the end, the girl with the phone gets me every time.”

Ms Hockley’s six-year-old son Dylan was killed during the Sandy Hook attack, while her older son Jake survived. She is now the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise.

In total, 26 people were killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, including 20 children and six members of staff.

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