Gallup: Students’ Safety Concerns Fall from 20% to 12% as School Year Begins

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Summer is coming to an end, and students heading back to school this year feel safer than they did a year ago.

A Gallup poll taken between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14 revealed that 12 percent of children express concern about being safe at school compared to 20 percent last year.

“The current figure is more in line with the historical trend and could be lower because last year’s reading came within six months of the Parkland shootings,” Gallup reported on its poll.

Parents’ concern for their children’s safety in school has also dropped but just by one percentage point — 35 percent were concerned last year, and 34 percent of parents say they are concerned in this year’s poll.

Gallup reported on the connection between safety concerns and mass shootings:

Although Gallup’s question about school safety does not refer specifically to gun violence, parents’ fear has spiked in the past after high-profile mass shootings, indicating they do have these kinds of threats in mind when answering the question.

The highest level of parental fear, 55%, was recorded in April 1999, one day after 13 people were killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. By the time parents were sending their children back to school that year, fear had dipped, but only slightly, to 47%, the highest August figure in Gallup’s trend. By August 2000, it had dropped to 26%.

The current level of parental worry is similar to last August’s 35% reading, which was taken about six months after 17 students and staff members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It is also on par with the 33% of parents who were concerned about their children’s safety at school in August 2013, roughly eight months after 26 students and staff members were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The poll is based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 320 parents and children in kindergarten through grade 12. The margin of error for the adults is plus 7 percent. Gallup reported:

The sample of parents is part of a total sample of 1,525 national adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is plus 3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

The poll reached 70 percent of adults on cellphones and 30 percent on landlines, according to Gallup.

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