AUSTIN (KXAN) — Almost a year after the Uvalde mass shooting, education leaders from around the country met in Austin Thursday to talk about how to prevent another one.

“I am thinking about Dylan every single day,” said Nicole Hockley, whose six-year-old son was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary a little over a decade ago.

Hockley co-founded the nonprofit Sandy Hook Promise as a way to honor Dylan and protect her other son who survived. At the South By Southwest Education conference, she spoke with education leaders about the importance of age appropriate training for elementary, middle and high schoolers to spot warning signs for someone at risk of harming themselves or others.

Anonymous reporting is an “incredibly important tool,” she said.

“We know it saves lives,” said Hockley. “It tells you what youth are thinking, what they need, help us deliver the right programs and policies for them. But it saves lives every single day from suicide and school shootings.”

Karen Fairley with North Carolina Center for Safer Schools (left) and Nicole Hockley with Sandy Hook Promise (right) present at SXSW EDU conference (KXAN Photo/Matt Grant)

Hockley’s nonprofit works with school districts around the country, including Austin and Houston ISDs, she said, to teach kids to “know the signs” and say something. In four out of five shootings, at least one other person had knowledge of the attacker’s plan but failed to report it, and 93% of school shooters planned their attacks in advance, Sandy Hook Promise found.

Among the behaviors Hockley said kids need to watch out for: being withdrawn, significant emotional change, someone who can’t manage anger or resolve conflicts in a health way or, in extreme cases, threatens violence.

“Too many kids think that someone is joking or just seeking attention or that someone else is going to take care of the problem,” said Hockley. “And we need to allow kids to be those upstanders and to reinforce and validate the behavior that when you see something that is someone who needs help and you need to take it seriously and act immediately.”

Sandy Hook Promise’s “Know the Signs” booklet at SXSW EDU conference (KXAN Photo/Matt Grant)

‘Significant improvements’ needed

After the Uvalde and El Paso Walmart mass shootings, Gov. Greg Abbott urged leaders to promote Texas’ anonymous reporting system, iWatchTexas, to make it better known and easily assessible. Tips sent in go to local, state and federal law enforcement based at fusion centers around the state.

As KXAN investigations previously found, the iWatchTexas program is not widely known, underused for school safety threats, and for some, raises privacy concerns.

“I am well aware of iWatch,” Hockley said. “I think significant more is needed in terms of training and sustaining the program. Just putting a program out there and expecting people to use it is not going to be very effective. And, I think iWatch can be a very good program, as long as some significant improvements were made.”

Hockley wants to see Texas focus on getting more young people trained on the app and comfortable with using it.

“All children need a safer future,” said Hockley. “And that is the legacy I want to build for Dylan.”