What Americans say about…

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.

Thirty-four percent of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school. As noted, that’s one in three, a disturbing number to express such a fundamental concern. It’s been this high before in a PDK survey 20 years ago but represents a steep increase from 2013 when just 12% said they were fearful. (Two school shootings in Arkansas and Oregon in spring 1998 attracted widespread media coverage, including one that was, at the time, the second deadliest at a K-12 school in U.S. history.)

Security Chart Safe Fear 300

Differences among groups are stark. Fears for a child’s safety at school are twice as high among parents with less than $50,000 in household income compared with those making $100,000 or more, 48% vs. 24%. Fear also tops 40% among urban parents, nonwhites, and those without college degrees. And Democrats and liberals are 20 and 16 points more likely than Republicans and conservatives to say they’re fearful for their child’s safety.

Graph Security Fear For Child Corrected

Additionally, women are more apt than men to say they fear for their child’s safety at school, 40% vs. 27%. Women typically are more apt than men to report such feelings.

Partisanship also comes into play in views of school security against shooters. Forty-four percent of Republican parents are extremely or very confident in their school’s safety, compared with 25% of Democrats and 20% of independents. Confidence is higher among suburban and rural parents as well, 31% vs. 20% among those in urban areas.

For more on the PDK poll's findings on school security:

Share these results: