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Desert Sands Unified School District participates in “Sandy Hook Promise” campaign

Superheroes converged on Lyndon B. Johnson Elementary School in Indio.

It was all part of the “Sandy Hook Promise” national campaign against school violence.

Dressed in costume, administrators, staff and students were welcoming students for class Wednesday morning showing it “starts with hello”.

“You see that person sitting by themselves, or isolated, go talk to them. Again it starts with hello. You go say hello, you start the conversation and make them feel special,” said Principal Brad Fisher.

It’s the second year that Desert Sands Unified has participated in the nationwide campaign, with the goal of preventing violence on campus.

It comes in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 and several other mass shootings at schools around the country since then.

“Too much isolation, too much going on in society now, you see more social and emotional concerns. We want to make sure that we start at the roots here, right here at elementary school,” said Principal Fisher.

Inspired by their favorite super heroes, the students and staff were encouraged to be heroic, by making the extra effort to make new friends and make others feel welcome, and to reach out to those who might be lonely.

Earlier this week, students leaders at Indio High School participated in the “Starts with Hello” program, lining up and greeting classmates arriving for class.

Assistant Superintendent Laura Fisher says it’s all about improving campus “culture and climate”.

“That is what is so important in our society right now, is for people to have that connection with others and to be able to feel like they belong,” said Fisher.

Fisher says a common factor among perpetrators in campus shootings is that they didn’t experience “connectedness” with others at school.

One young superhero is trying to make a difference.

“Be helpful. If anybody gets down, raise them up by letting them play with you, or get them to smile,” said third grader Aidan Dean.

Activities will continue on campus this week, including “Thoughtfulness Thursday”.

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