School safety

Confidence in school safety is weak among parents of school-age children, according to a poll released this week.

The national poll showed 72 percent of parents being less than extremely or very confident in the security of their children’s schools.

Securing schools against armed intruders is a fact of life in the United States today, and a…

A clear majority opposed arming teachers and school staffers with guns. However, the majority shrinks with the stipulation that armed staffers are screened and trained.

Two-thirds don’t want a gun-carrying teacher in their child’s classroom and only about a quarter felt that arming teachers and other school staff would make their children safer.

Measures parents largely support include mental health screening of students, metal detectors at entrances and armed police in schools.

While large majorities support both police in schools and mental health screening, when it comes to spending money, parents overwhelmingly chose mental health services.

More than a third of parents fear for their child’s physical safety while at school and almost a third aren’t confident their child’s school has sufficient security to thwart a shooting.

The findings are the latest in an annual Phi Delta Kappa International poll measuring public attitudes toward school issues. The full poll results will be released in late August.

The poll was based on a random, national sample of 1,042 adults.

It showed that views on some issues differed on gender, socioeconomic and political party lines.

For instance, lower-income parents were much more fearful about their children’s safety than those in the upper middle class.

The same was true of urban, non-white, and less-educated parents. Women were more fearful than men and Democrats more than Republicans.

Political partisanship also showed differences in attitudes on guns in school with more Republicans supporting teachers and school staff carrying guns.

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Mike James is The Independent's education reporter. He has covered news in Northeast Kentucky since 1996.