SAVE Promise Club promotes school safety and student voice

Sandy Hook Promise Say Something Week Logo

Sandy Hook Promise Say Something Week Logo

Kaelyn Sloan, Freelance Writer

Following the tragedy of the Parkland shooting in February 2018, LT world history teacher Theresa Hirstein realized that it was time for action. She began to talk with students who had the idea of a SAVE Promise club here at LT.

“It was really kind of the students that started it,” Hirstein, co-sponsor of the Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club, said.  “They noticed the Sandy Hook Promise pamphlets and immediately were interested.  They wanted to learn more and find out if there was a club because of course, Parkland changed everything.  People just wanted to do something after Parkland, so the students took the initiative, we took the initiative, and just started the club and got it going.”

One of the main events that SAVE Promise Club is in charge of is Say Something Week.  This year was the second time LT participated in the nationwide event that took place from March 2-6.  The Say Something campaign started as a result of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, Hirstein said.  Through this campaign, students are encouraged to speak up if they hear or see something that could be a potential threat to themselves, other students, or to the school.

“It’s an awareness campaign,” Dr. Brian Waterman, LT Principal of six years, said.  “Going back to the very first assemblies we had this year, one of the topics was making sure students understand that they have a voice in what we do here at LT.  Say Something Week is another example of the message that student voice is important and that we need your voice in order to run a safe school and maintain a safe learning environment.”

Throughout the week, SAVE Promise Club raised awareness through daily morning announcements, slideshows during lunches, locker magnets, wearing green, selling shirts, posting videos on their social media, and a pledge banner for students to sign, Hirstein said.  She wants all of LT to be educated on how to prevent tragedies.

“It’s a very positive approach especially for students who may not be very comfortable with saying something or hesitant of explaining anything,” Eligio Torres, LT counselor of 24 years, said.  “They could be anonymous and say this and that.  It makes a huge impact on the student body.”

Although there is only one week solely dedicated to students speaking up for their safety, the campaign will continue throughout the year, Torres said.  School safety is not a one time event.  This week has the purpose of helping students and staff in recognizing the signs of potential threats and continue to apply them for the entire year.

“I don’t think we’ll ever be at a point and say we’ve arrived,” Waterman said.  “We have to constantly be thinking about how we can make LT safer.  Over the past couple years specifically, we’ve coordinated a lot of efforts around getting this message to students and having clubs that promote this message as well.  It’s always going to be a part of our conversation and we need to continually think about how we could do things differently.”