The only word that aptly describes the new PSA from Sandy Hook Promise is bone-chilling. The PSA works because it juxtaposes three things that DO NOT BELONG together, ever; violence, education and our kids. We’ve all seen those back-to-school ads featuring smiling, shiny kids with all of their exciting new school paraphernalia, folders, notebooks, pencils and pens. And that’s how this PSA initially lulls us as we begin to watch it.
And then with little fanfare and no hysteria, the PSA turns into a horror show. It’s a good thing the sneakers are fast because they are made for running from an assailant. Socks are to be used as tourniquets, skateboards to break windows and provide an escape route. Perhaps a scissors meant for art class can be used as protection. A newly bought smart phone serves to place a last message to mom, a message that says “I love you” and possibly goodbye.
The spot is intended to shake us out of our complacency and it does. But this is not drama for the sake of drama, this is the new reality for our school kids and for all of us.
This is how our kids are forced to think about a place that should be their safe place and that is wrong on every level. If this PSA shakes us and makes us uncomfortable, good. We adults should be both shaken and uncomfortable with this new reality.