Summer is over, and students of all ages are returning to the prisons of their youth. And as this begins, backpacks, new shoes, binders and notebooks fill parents’ shopping carts at your local Target. With all the new materials students must acquire for the upcoming school year, parents have begun sending their children to school with new information about what to do if a school shooting were to take place. This notion became extremely relevant to the event that seems to have kicked off this devastating trend, for lack of a better word– the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School after shooting his mother earlier that morning and proceeded to shoot and kill 20 students between the ages of six and seven-years-old, as well as six staff members. The United States was shocked that elementary schoolers were the victims of such a tragedy and as devastating as that this day was, it seems to have set the stage for more heinous shootings in various other settings throughout the years; Pulse– a gay nightclub in Orlando, a Las Vegas country music festival and, above all else, high schools all across the nation.
The initial act of Sandy Hook, along with the subsequent shootings throughout other schools that have followed, parents’ concern for the safety of their children has become widespread and very evident. So much so, that the parents of the Sandy Hook victims created a very controversial video that took multiple social media platforms by storm.
This video starts like any other back-to-school commercial as children are seen talking about their new apparel and materials. However, as the video proceeds, the situation of a school shooter becomes mimicked in the backgrounds, as children are seen breaking windows to escape and new phones are advertised as a means of children contacting their parents to tell them they love them as their final goodbye. The video concludes with a message from Sandy Hook Promise that reads, “It’s back to school time and you know what that means. School shootings are preventable when you know the signs.” This serves as a final encouragement to children and parents to beware of the signs and take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe before, during and after an event like this occurs.
This video conjures many logical and emotional appeals as its message stands clear about the worry children and parents share over the dangers of doing something as mundane as receiving their public education. It encourages parents to make their children aware of their surroundings, to make a mental note of all exits in a classroom, and to make resourceful decisions in the event that their life depends on it. It pushes the message that just because shootings of the past may not have occurred at their own children’s schools, that the climbing number of school shootings occurring every year could include theirs in years to come.