A Child Teaches Adults How to Survive a Mass Shooting in This Heartbreaking PSA

Highlighting the tragic reality of 'Generation Lockdown'

Child named Kayleigh tells adults
Kayleigh teaches a group of adult coworkers the tips she's learned from many lockdown drills at school. March for Our Lives
Headshot of David Griner

We all wish we could protect children from the horrors of our world, but one of the darkest ironies of modern life is that preparing for mass killings has become an aspect of everyday life for schoolkids, while adults rarely think about it beyond the newest grisly headline.

To help show adults just how pervasive the idea of “active shooter” preparation has become in schools, advocacy group March for Our Lives and agency McCann New York have created a gut-wrenching PSA in which a child named Kayleigh surprises a workplace by arriving to be the group’s active shooter training coach.

According to March for Our Lives, 95% of today’s schoolkids—some as young as 5—have been trained on lockdown drills to prepare for the possibility of a shooter in school. As Kayleigh illustrates in the PSA, they’ve learned to hide quietly, stand on toilets, barricade doors and (perhaps most heartbreakingly of all) that “if the shooter comes into the room, screaming won’t do anything.”

Specifically the PSA asks viewers to support legislation requiring universal background checks for firearm purposes, though the lesson clearly goes far beyond one call to action. March for Our Lives also supports extreme-risk protection orders, safe-storage laws and other measures that could prevent gun violence including mass shootings.

Since April 15, March for Our Lives has also been running an ad campaign in Times Square, where the group estimates it will reach 5.5 million people over two weeks.

March for Our Lives and McCann have collaborated on several other awareness and advocacy campaigns together, including the Price on Our Lives initiative that divided the amount of NRA donations to politicians in each state by the number of students to determine a “price” of each life that might be lost in a school shooting.

McCann also partnered with Kesha to create an intricate, looping music video about the cycle of gun violence.

March For Our Lives:
Amanda Conlee, Director of Operations
Ryan Deitsch, Co-Founder & Content Creator
Lauren Hogg, Co-Founder
Robyn Mohr, Deputy General Counsel
Precision Strategies

McCann New York:
Eric Silver, Chief Creative Officer, McCann North America
Devika Bulchandani, President, McCann New York
Sean Bryan, Co-Chief Creative Officer, McCann New York
Tom Murphy, Co-Chief Creative Officer, McCann New York
Pierre Lipton, Global Executive Creative Director, McCann New York
Marco Pupo, Executive Creative Director, McCann New York
Karsten Jurkschat, Creative Director, McCann New York
Alex Little, Creative Director, McCann New York
Nathy Aviram, Chief Production Officer, McCann New York
John McAdorey, Executive Producer, McCann New York
Gabrielle Levy, Producer, McCann New York
Jeremy Miller, Chief Communications Officer, McCann Worldgroup
Danielle Korn, Director of Business Affairs, McCann New York
Kimberly Kress, Director of Talent Partnerships, McCann New York
Wilmien Blake, Director of Business Affairs, McCann New York
Terry Marcello, Director of Talent Payment, McCann New York
Bristol Parrish, Senior Project Manager, McCann New York

Film production: Hungry Man
Director: Bryan Buckley
EPs: Mino Jarjoura, Kevin Byrne, Caleb Dewart
Producer: Matt Lefebvre
Production Manager: Sherra Fermino
DP: Scott Henriksen

Editorial: NO6
Editor: Jason Macdonald
Editor: Justin Quagliata
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Post Producer: Malia Rose, Laura Molinaro
Assistant Editor: Tripp McCarty, Scott Zeitlen

Finishing: NO6
Flame: Ed Skupeen
Flame Asst: Mark Reyes
Color: Steve Picano

Finishing: The Mill/LA
Flame: Tom Graham
Creative Director: Phil Crowe
Producer: Marie O’Brien
Executive Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl

Audio Post: Sonic Union
Audio Engineer: Brian Goodheart
Audio Mix Assistant: Kelly Oostman
Audio Producer: Pat Sullivan
Audio Producer: Justine Cortale

Music: Duotone Audio Group
Executive Producer: Ross Hopman
Composer: Brad Fischer

Clearances provided by: STALKR
Executive Producer: Colleen Cavanaugh Anthony
Producer: George Alvarez
Project Manager: Natalie Stowell
Researcher: Niko Savich
Researcher: Craig Phillips

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@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."