Four years after Newtown, schools are teaching students to spot warning signs

Warning signs

It seems to be a charming story of young love -- two teens flirting, then terror.

As the scenes are replayed, we realize what we’ve missed: a troubled student getting bullied, posting a disturbing selfie, gesturing violently. But as the ad points out, “no one noticed.”

New Sandy Hook Promise ad shares powerful message

Students at Broadview Middle School in Danbury, Connecticut, watched the video online.

“I should have been able to recognize the signals that this, the kid was giving,” said Declan Jakobson, an eighth grader.

The school has adopted a violence prevention program, developed by Sandy Hook Promise, called “Say Something.”

Students learn the warning signs of a potentially troubled classmate.

“When people isolate themselves, when they’re being bullied, a lot of times will lead to something, or when they’re obsessed with death, guns, things like that,” Jakobson said. “Then they also teach you to talk to a trusted adult.”

Declan Jakobson   CBS News

“Risk signs will appear in many people who will never perpetrate violence so what we can do that will be most effective will be to create prevention programs,” said psychiatrist Dr. Harold Schwartz, who co-authored a 2014 report on the Newtown shooter.

Research shows school shooters have often communicated their plans beforehand through social media, texting or conversation.

“We definitely need to destigmatize what it means to report. For school children, we need to try to end the code of silence,” Schwartz said.

Avery Marquis spoke up after seeing another student bullied.

“In this school we make it like such a big thing,” she said. “It’s not snitching. It’s saying something for everybody’s safety.”

  • Jon Lapook
    Jonathan LaPook

    Dr. Jonathan LaPook is the chief medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News. Follow him on Twitter at @DrLaPook