In An Era Of School Shootings, A Sandy Hook Back-To-School Ad Takes A Twist

In an era of school shootings, the start of the school year means more than making sure you have the right text books.

Increasingly, students as young as four or five need to know how to protect themselves from a school shooter: where to hide, how to lock the doors, when to run.

A new ad from the Sandy Hook Foundation turns the preparation of returning to school on its head.

"These knee socks can be a real life saver!" one girl says, as she wraps it around a bullet wound in her friend.

In the final scene, a girl hides in her bathroom, texting her mum that she loves her as a shooter enters off screen.

"I finally got my own phone to stay in touch with my mum," she says, tears running down her face.

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The spot, which will air on US television from Wednesday, played on The Project on Wednesday night. When it finished, the panel was left momentarily speechless.

"It's brutal," Waleed Aly said.

"That end bit ... with the text," Carrie Bickmore added.

Former Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne, who joined the panel on Wednesday night, said it was the kind of ad that "makes us really glad we've got the laws we've got here".

Tommy Little expressed hopelessness that if Sandy Hook -- in which 20 children and six adults were slaughtered -- didn't inspire the US to bring in gun control, then nothing would.

You can watch the ad above.