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School security: Do Americans think their children are safe?

The 2018 PDK poll finds that parents lack strong confidence that schools can protect their children against school shootings but favor armed police, mental health screenings, and metal detectors more than arming teachers to protect their children.

Complete results of the 2018 PDK poll will be unveiled Monday, Aug. 27.

Key points

Safety at school

One in three parents fear for their child's physical safety at school, a sharp increase from 2013 when just 12% said they were fearful. Differences among groups are stark.

Arming teachers and staff

Ultimately, parents are divided on whether additional armed personnel will make school safer for their child or not, albeit with more skeptical than supportive.

Additional measures

While other initiatives garner wide support -- armed police in schools, metal detectors, and mental health screening -- there’s variation in the extent and strength of sentiment.

​Spending preference

Preference to spend money on mental health services for students rather than on armed guards in the schools is high regardless of support for assigned officers. It’s another result that’s heavily influenced by political inclinations.


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