In the last few years, concerns and fears around mass shootings have skyrocketed as shootings have caused anxiety from public schools to public places, like concerts and shopping centers. When it comes to school shootings, parental fears for their children in class are at high levels and haven’t changed since shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, and Parkland, Florida.
In a new Gallup poll released in right before Labor Day, around the same time classes started back up for our nation’s public schools, more than one-third of parents surveyed said they fear for their children’s safety while at school, and 12 percent said their children have expressed their own concerns about their safety. In the poll, a random sample of 320 parents of children in kindergarten through 12th grade was surveyed to express their thoughts about guns and shootings in school.
In August 2018, students were preparing for their first year back after the Parkland shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead. Parents voiced their concerns then, saying their children’s safety was a major concern. In Gallup’s poll for that school year, 35 percent of parents expressed their anxieties.
And in 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 people (mostly children) were killed, 33 percent said they were concerned. This year’s poll, conducted in the first two weeks in August, came at a time when shootings occurred in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where a combined 31 people were killed due to gunfire. While neither happened at a school, they still represent the epidemic that is mass shootings in America.
Parents of school-aged kids have seen their anxiety rise over the years, but numbers haven’t been as high as they were in 1999 following Columbine. In a poll in that year, more than half (55 percent) of parents in the country said they were uneasy about their children’s safety and well-being. While 13 people were killed, less than Sandy Hook and Parkland, it was the first high-profile shooting in America in a long time due to the nature of how easy it was for two students to execute their mass shooting plan.
Fear levels have not gotten back to that point since, but have seen spikes after school shootings and public mass shootings have occurred, such as the 2001 shooting at Santana High School in Sante, California, or the shooting of a baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in 2017 that left 26 dead.
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