‘Sandy Hook Promise’ trains Barberton students to spot potential violence

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BARBERTON, Ohio - Shooting violence is on the minds of many including one Summit County school district working to prevent the next mass shooting.

Barberton Schools are partnering with a group who never wanted the limelight; families of loved ones killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

Wednesday, officials from the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise made the trip to Barberton High School to teach around 1,300 students the importance of using their voice to speak up about dangerous behavior.

"We understand they [students] are very plugged into social media and often times they know things days even weeks before any adult does," said Patricia Parker-Perry, the director of programming for Sandy Hook Promise. "So if you know something and you see something and you know it's important to say something you have that opportunity."

Last November, the district experienced the greatest reward from this life saving training, several students spoke up about a violent threat against students.

"There were threats posted to Barberton High School that warned kids not to come to school the next day," explained School Resource Officer Marty Eberheart. "That individuals were going to shot up the school."

Three students were charged in the incident although an investigation revealed there was no imminent threat of danger. Students remember the words posted to social media vividly and reported it immediately to parents and trusted school staff.

"It said like I'm coming for you guys, or like you'll regret what you guys did to me or like you'll know me by the end of the week," said student Taylor Stinnett. "Just stuff like that it was just really scary."

During the presentation students learned school shooters typically spend six months planning their attack and usually unintentionally signal about their plans. Sandy Hook Promise officials say students are key to spotting the warning signs and changing school culture to create a safer tomorrow.

"It's kind of a hit or miss honestly you can help it but if people don't speak out then you don't know," said Stinnett.

Sandy Hook Promise has a presence in all but 12 of the 88 counties in Ohio.