Meet the Mom Behind the Sandy Hook Promise Gun Violence PSA

Sandy Hook mom Nicole Hockley explains the thought behind her organization’s haunting PSA.

Nicole Hockley lost her son in the Sandy Hook school shooting—so she produced a PSA as a reminder of the horrors back to school can bring. Made to look like a lighthearted guide to what school supplies kids need, the PSA, which was released in September 18, is actually a dark reminder that children now live is world where a shooting at their school is feasible.

“Back to school is not this rosy time period anymore,” she stated. “There are more and more acts of violence happening in schools—gun violence is not pretty.”

Hockley tested the PSA out with many before releasing it and even showed it to her 15-year-old son, a survivor of Sandy Hook, who said people needed to see it.

In 2012, Hockley’s six-year-old son Dylan was murdered in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She went on to co-found Sandy Hook Promise, which has made PSAs since 2014 to educate the public on warning signs that could prevent mass shootings.

“The last several PSAs that we’ve done have been about noticing the signs whether it’s from you as a casual observer seeing the signs, or you from the point of view of the would-be shooter seeing the signs around you,” Hockley. “This one we’re not talking about that the signs are to recognize, we’re talking about using these ideas of back-to-school essentials as lifesaving tools where really the only back-to-school essential is learning how to know the signs.”

Hockley also hopes the PSA drives viewers to the website so that can download a brochure that has signs of a potentially dangerous, violent person to look out for.