This chilling back-to-school PSA shows the new normal for America’s kids

Back-to-school season should mean new books for studying and pencils for homework — not shoes for escaping and scissors for self-defense.

In a ghastly public service announcement released Wednesday by Sandy Hook Promise, young teenage students are depicted cheerily returning to school halls with new book bags, notebooks and electronics. But the school safety group’s video takes a dark turn as it becomes apparent the kids were actually preparing for the worst — a horrifying shooter scenario.

“These new sneakers are just what I needed for the new year,” says a boy, running through the halls as he looks behind him in fear. Students use a jacket to lock gymnasium doors, a skateboard for busting through windows and tube socks as a tourniquet for a fresh bullet wound.

In the final scene, a girl is shown crouching in a bathroom stall, texting, “I love you, mom.”

“I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mom,” she says, choking back tears as she hears footsteps approach.

The 67-second ad, titled “Back To School Essentials,” is one in a series of disturbing videos paid for by Sandy Hook Promise, all aimed at bringing awareness to the very real fears of parents and students across the country.

“It’s back to school time and you know what that means,” the screen reads. “School shootings are preventable if you know the signs.”

In the last 20 years, since the shooting in Columbine, Colorado, at least 228,000 students have dealt with gun violence at school. Last year was the deadliest year for school shootings with 83 students killed or injured.

“We don’t have to accept this as the new normal,” Nicole Hockley, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise, told USAToday. “We have to compel ourselves to address this head-on and do something about it.”

Hockley’s 6-year-old son, Dylan, died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

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