PINELLAS COUNTY -- The Pinellas County School District is implementing a new approach to teach kids about gun safety. It has adopted the Sandy Hook Promise.
- Pinellas County schools adopt the Sandy Hook Promise
- Program to help staff, students recognize signs of gun violence
- Pinellas teachers will be trained on program this summer
The goal is to help kids and adults identify the signs of gun violence--and ultimately prevent gun-related deaths.
The Sandy Hook Promise is a national non-profit organization that was started by the family members of the students killed in the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
The program provides training and support for staff and students, teaching them what to look for that could be a sign that someone is in trouble, or wants to hurt themselves or someone else.
Starting next school year, the program will be part of every Pinellas County Public School. A Sandy Hook Promise staff member will work with Pinellas County Schools full time and all teachers will be trained on the program this summer.
They will introduce it to students the first week of school and the program will be tailored for each age level.
School officials say they started looking into the program a while ago, before any of the recent school shootings. But now with school safety at the forefront, they feel it's the appropriate time to implement it.
"It's very timely of course, as we look at what we should do for our families, for our students, for our community, to make sure everyone has the support that they need, the training they need, and that we are able to look for signs of mental illness or issues with children and staff. We want to make sure people are supported," Lori Matway with Pinellas County Schools said.
Another part of the program is the say something app. Students can anonymously report any concerns they may have about a friend or classmate directly to a Sandy Hook Promise Counselor, 24/7. That counselor will immediately alert local school officials so that they can provide support to that student.