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Florida Keys Students Aim To Prevent Violence On Campus With Hello And A Smile

Monroe County Sheriff's Office
Students at Poinciana Elementary School in Key West spelled out HELLO and a smile Thursday morning.

Students in the Keys are "starting with hello" this week, part of a program developed by Sandy Hook Promise.

At Poinciana Elementary School in Key West, that work took the shape of 600 small bodies spelling out the word "hello" and a smile.

"At the elementary level, it's a lot about inclusion," said Ilinke Royse, a Spanish teacher at the school who runs the new SAVE Promise Club.

The aim of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit foundation that works on preventing violence in schools, is to get students to recognize others who are lonely, and reach out to them. 

"Kids have been learning how to say hello in different languages on the morning announcements. Today is wear green day in honor of the Sandy Hook Promise and then we're spelling out hello with all 600 of our students out on the field, which has proven to go smoother than I thought it would," Royse said Thursday morning as the kids from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade assembled on the field, class by class.

Just this week, Royse said the number of students in her club has doubled, from 20 to 40.