Michele Gay & Alissa Parker
Founded by Michele Gay, mother of Josephine Grace Gay, and Alissa Parker, mother of Emilie Parker, Safe and Sound Schools is a national nonprofit safety advocacy and resource center that provides research-based tools and support for crisis-prevention, response, and recovery. Safe and Sound Schools is committed to protecting every school and every student, every day.
We are Sandy Hook parents, educators, and community members—all inspired by our children and educators who perished on December 14, 2012. We chose to raise our families in Newtown, CT, a small town where crime is low and values are strong. We chose Sandy Hook Elementary School, a place of love, learning, and acceptance. When our children boarded their school buses and their teachers left for work on December 14th, we never imagined that it might be for the last time.
We all felt safe in our peaceful town and in our high-ranking schools. We learned, too painfully, that we were not. Gaining entry to our locked school–and access to our beloved children and teachers–was as simple as breaking a glass window.
The measures, plans, and procedures we relied upon failed us, tragically.
Despite our sorrow, and though we come from a variety of backgrounds, we are united in our mission: To better protect our schools. To provide safe schools, secure schools, for our children and educators. And to help others do the same in their communities.
Joined by school communities across the country and supported by national school safety experts, mental health, fire, and law enforcement professionals, our community has grown and our resolve has strengthened.
Together can make a difference. Together we can make our schools Safe and Sound.
About the Founders
Founder & Executive Director
Mother, educator, and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools®, Michele Gay chose to take action after losing her daughter Josephine Grace on December 14, 2012 in the Sandy Hook School tragedy. Since that time, Michele has channeled her work as an advocate, improving safety and security in schools and communities across our country.
With a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson State University, Michele earned Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. Prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy, she taught at the elementary level in the Maryland and Virginia public schools.Read More
Alissa is the mother of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died tragically in the Sandy Hook School Shootings on December 14, 2012. In the wake of the tragedy, Alissa was moved to engage parents in securing the safety of their children’s school by becoming an active member of the Newtown Public Schools’ Safety Committee. Now, Alissa is a nationally-recognized advocate for school safety, speaking to school communities, educational leadership events, and top news sources across the United States.Read More