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School safety concerns rise to highest level in 20 years: poll

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AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Students are lined up outside of the Adams’ campus of Oyster Adams Bilingual School as they wait to check-in for the first day of school, Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Washington, DC. Students attending public schools in Washington DC needed to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to able to return to school. (Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Parents’ concerns for their children’s safety at school are at the highest level in over two decades, according to a new poll. 

The Gallup survey released Thursday found that 44 percent of respondents shared concerns about their children’s safety in schools, while 56 percent of those surveyed had no concerns. 

School safety concerns are the highest since March 2001, Gallup noted, when 45 percent of respondents expressed concerns. 

Parents’ concerns hit a peak in 1999, when 55 percent of respondents expressed fear for their children’s safety in public schools in the immediate aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre, where two students killed 13 of their fellow classmates and educators.

Parental fear declined in the year after Columbine but surged to 45 percent in 2001 after the shooting at Santana High School in Santee, Calif., according to the survey giant. 

Twenty percent of parents in the new poll also reported that their children said they felt unsafe at their schools, an 8-point increase from August 2019.

The Gallup survey comes in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this year, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two schoolteachers. 

The poll was conducted from Aug. 1 to Aug. 23 with a total of 1,006 respondents. The poll’s margin of error was 4 percentage points.

Tags Education Gallup Gallup Poll Mass shootings in the United States school safety school security school shootings

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