Gallup: No letup in parents' concerns about school safety
© Getty Images

Parental fears for their school-age children are at similar levels to their concerns in the aftermaths of the Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla., school shootings, according to new research from Gallup.

In the poll released the week before Labor Day, which is when classes resume in many school districts, 34 percent of parents said they fear for their children’s safety at school, and 12 percent said their children have voiced concerns about their safety.


Last August, near the beginning of the first school year following the massacre in Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead, 35 percent of parents said they were worried.

In August 2013, the first back-to-school period after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 were killed, including 20 children, 33 percent of parents said they were concerned, according to Gallup.

Gallup conducted the poll Aug. 1-14, a period that included back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left a total of 31 people dead. Neither of the shootings occurred at a school.

Anxiety among parents of school-age children reached an all-time high of 55 percent in April 1999, the month of the Columbine High School shooting in which 13 were killed, according to Gallup. While the fear had subsided somewhat by that fall, at 47 percent it was still a record high for that August. It fell to 26 percent by the following August.

Fear levels have not reached either April or August 1999 levels in the two decades since, but spiked after several other school shootings, including a 2001 incident at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., and an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa., in 2006, reaching an all-time low of 15 percent in 2008, according to Gallup.

Gallup surveyed a random sample of 320 parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade. The poll has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.