2019 Bullying Pressures Poll Getty
What Americans have said

What parents said: How do we rate school problems and pressures?

In addition to the traditional PDK poll of Americans, PDK convened online focus groups with public school parents and public school teachers, thanks to funding support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. These comments are drawn from those two groups.

If I were principal of my son's school, the main thing I would address is the social pressures on students, working to make all students feel welcome and accepted. My son's school does a good job of this already, but there are cliques of kids who still tend to bully other students, especially those with learning disabilities.

Sandy, 54, White mother of one in urban Missouri

Keeping the school as secure as possible against intruders is important, but, for me, this is overblown. Of course, I want my kids to be safe, but I think some people are too worried about this.

Robin, 49, White mother of a high school student in urban Pennsylvania

Public schools need to focus more on mental health, especially at the high school level. Students are struggling more than ever, and school is the perfect place to address some of the stresses since kids spend so much of their time in school. By emphasizing mental health, schools can take away some of the stigma from this issue, and, when students are mentally healthy, they are more easily able to achieve academic success as well as be positive contributors to their community.

Robin, 49, White mother of a high school student in urban Pennsylvania

The school is secure from intruders, but the threat lies within the walls as they do nothing to combat bullying and, being in a rural community, almost every kid lives in a house that has firearms. As with any parent, it is my greatest fear.

Deanna, 42, Hispanic mother of two in rural Colorado

It is not just making students feel welcomed and accepted but making them feel safe and free from bullying both in school and online. Schools need to address this constant issue of bullying and get a better handle on it. From what I have seen, I do not think any school has this under control.

Albert, 49, Asian father of two sons in suburban California

I’d work more on empathy and making sure all students felt like they belong. I’d look more holistically at test scores and work to increase them through differentiated instruction and hands-on experiences.

Autumn, 39, White mother of three elementary school students in suburban Michigan

It seems the school year goes faster and faster every year. As my kids are older, they need to fit in more socially, developmentally and scholastically. One of the key reasons I send my kids to public school (vs. homeschool) is to help them with their social growth. There are certain aspects of our society that you have to learn on your own, and one of those is really how to interact with and deal with people. They have to know how to handle themselves online as well. They have to be safe, smart, and aware.

Michael, 43, White father of three in suburban Texas

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