Model School Safety Legislation

Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund leads legislation at the state level to create widespread change for student safety across the country.

What Are Violence Prevention Laws?

In combination with federal efforts, state legislation expands the reach of violence prevention programs. Together, we can save more lives in more ways.

The Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund works with state officials and our dedicated volunteers to pass model school violence prevention laws. This legislation makes lifesaving violence prevention training, like Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs, available to all students in grades K-12

Our model legislation is also known as the Safety and Violence Education for Students Act (SAVE Students Act). It focuses on social inclusion, suicide and violence prevention, student leadership, and anonymous reporting systems.  

What Progress Has been Made on these Bills?

We have gained traction with the Safety and Violence Education for Students Act in four states. In Pennsylvania, Rep. Karen Boback and 10 bipartisan co-sponsors introduced legislation into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. In Massachusetts, the act was introduced by State Senator Barry Finegold and State Representative Natalie Higgins into the Massachusetts Senate and House. In both Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, the legislature was introduced in February of 2021 and is still active.

In Ohio, the SAVE Students Act was first passed in the State House of Representatives in 2019 after being introduced by the bipartisan effort of State Representatives Gayle Manning and Glenn Holmes. Next the bill moved to the Ohio State Senate, where it was passed in 2020. Governor Michael DeWine signed the act into law in 2021, making Ohio the first state to establish requirements for these kinds of life-saving trainings and setting a new national precedent. Louisiana passed the SAVE Students Act unanimously in 2022, becoming the second state ever to do so. 

Why Pass Violence Prevention laws?

In many incidences of youth violence, students exhibit warning signs or signals before acting in harmful mannerEvidence-based violence prevention programs can save lives. They teach students how to recognize the warning signs of violence and empower them to be upstanders to prevent tragedy.  

Our model school safety legislation ensures access to these programs. That’s because it extends beyond an individual school or an individual teacher’s decision to use them. It gives schools and students across the stateregardless of differences in resources or incomeequal access to high-quality violence prevention programs and the benefits they offer.  

How does the legislation impact schools and teachers?

Our legislation makes it possible for educators to bring high-qualityviolence prevention traininto their schools. They can access developmentally appropriate options for K-12, through digital, in-person and train-the-trainer programs. 

The model law also ensures the state provides a list of evidence-based programs educators can choose fromincluding no-cost optionsSandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs meet the training standards found in the legislation. 

Does Violence Prevention Work in Schools?

Yes. Violence prevention programs are part of Sandy Hook Promise’s comprehensive approach to prevent gun violence. To date, Sandy Hook Promise has trained millions of youth and adults in our Know the Signs programs. This has averted hundreds of instances of self-harm and youth violence across the country. Evidence-based programs have a foundation for impact. Violence is preventable when youth and adults learn the warning signs and how to take action to save a life. 

Sandy Hook Promise has successfully introduced violence prevention legislation at the state level alreadyBy encouraging more states to adopt this approach, we can expand the reach of violence prevention programs. This means more children, teens and educators will be safer. 

What You Can Do to Help Pass Model School Safety Laws

Interested in getting the SAVE Students Act introduced in your state? Our policy experts are available to help. You may also request a copy of the model legislation for use in your state. Contact us online and choose “I’d like to learn more about legislation”.