The minute-long video mimics “back-to-school” advertisements, and starts off with kids talking to the camera and showing off their new backpacks, binders and headphones. In the background, students begin to run away and scream; a boy runs towards the camera and says, “These new sneakers were just what I needed for the new year.” Students begin to repurpose their new school supplies for survival: One student uses his new skateboard to escape out a window, while another uses her gym sock to bind a friend’s gunshot wound.
The clip then shows a girl hiding in a bathroom stall and texting “I love you mom,” telling the camera through tears, “My new phone lets me stay in touch with my mom,” before we hear footsteps entering the bathroom. The PSA ends with the text: “It’s back to school time and you know what that means. School shootings are preventable when you know the signs.”
The clip is not the first PSA from Sandy Hook Promise to go viral. In 2016, the group’s “Evan” video, which demonstrated how the warning signs of someone planning a school shooting could hide in plain sight, amassed over 11 million views on YouTube. They’ve since released several similar videos over the past three years.
Since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, over 400 people have been shot in over 200 school shootings nationwide, according to a New York Times report, using data from the Gun Violence Archive. This past month, student activists and survivors from the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, unveiled an ambitious gun control and reform program for 2020.