HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A new initiative is helping stop school shootings before they start. It is called “Say Something,” and Hartford Schools teamed up with Sandy Hook Promise to talk about the program with U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary changed a lot. Especially for Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel.

“It changed me. It has rewired me,” Barden said. “I feel like my DNA is different, but it also sent me on a mission.”

That mission included helping create the group Sandy Hook Promise, which has something called the Say Something Initiative. Kids in grades 6-12 are trained to look for warning signs that someone might hurt themselves or others.

“In that moment when there are warning signs, there are opportunities to connect somebody to help, before it becomes a tragedy,” Barden said.

First, those kids need to be told what to look for, in school and out. That is already happening in Hartford.

“Whether it is someone who looks isolated, that they’re avoiding their friends, their peers,” Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez explained. “That they are showing up differently in terms of their behavior.”

At the Environmental Sciences Magnet School, those students are taught to tell a trusted adult or contact counselors at Sandy Hook Promise.

“It has taught me and my friends what to do and how to step up in situations,” 8th grader Hanna Pitner said. “I’ve seen a lot of students step up, even when there are little arguments, step up, ‘Hey, don’t joke about that, don’t say stuff like that.'”

The group said the program has already stopped nine planned school shootings. But more keep happening, as we saw last week in Texas. The ongoing issue has only gotten worse with the isolation of remote learning.

“There are a lot of kids in crisis out there today,” Murphy, who has become a reluctant expert on school shootings, said. “There are more kids in crisis now after the pandemic than ever before.”

Say Something does not just stop school violence. It has also helped stop bullying, cutting, and eating disorders. For more information, click here.