MEN Logo_Men Icon Light



For Parents


"We are always looking for stakeholders, If you would like to contribute,"


John Huber


Behind the Numbers: Understanding Public Sentiment on School Safety and Gun Violence Prevention

The findings of a recent NPR/Ipsos poll shed light on the attitudes and concerns of the American public and K-12 parents regarding school safety, active shooter drills, and measures to prevent gun violence in schools. The poll reveals that over half of K-12 parents report that their child has experienced an active shooter drill at school. Notably, despite a relatively low personal experience of such drills during their own K-12 education, most parents express support for their children participating in these drills at least once a year.

Confidence in the safety measures implemented by schools is evident, with 83% of K-12 parents expressing confidence in their child’s school’s ability to keep them safe. However, a majority of these parents acknowledge a moderate level of confidence rather than absolute assurance.

The poll delves into the preferences of parents and the general public regarding school safety investments. A significant majority across both groups indicates a preference for prioritizing social and emotional interventions over security or training measures to enhance school safety. While 52% of Americans advocate for making schools safer to reduce the number of school shootings, there is a notable divide, with 45% emphasizing making guns harder to access. This divergence is reflective of partisan differences, with Republicans favoring school safety measures and Democrats leaning toward stricter gun control.

Within the realm of active shooter drills, the poll indicates widespread agreement among parents that these drills should be evidence-based and age-appropriate. While basic lockdown procedures and blocking doors with furniture during drills receive overwhelming support, there is less enthusiasm for measures involving simulated gunfire or external banging during the drills.

Concerns about student discipline and school safety emerge as significant considerations, with a plurality of Americans and K-12 parents attributing the responsibility for keeping children safe from gun violence at school to the government, whether at the federal, state, or local level. School resource officers or security personnel are identified as the second most responsible entity for ensuring school safety.

Noteworthy demographic differences surface in these findings, with younger Americans and those who have experienced active shooter drills expressing stronger sentiments in favor of government responsibility for school safety. Additionally, the study unveils insights into party-affiliated perspectives, with Democrats advocating for social and emotional interventions and Republicans emphasizing security measures.

In summary, the NPR/Ipsos poll provides a comprehensive overview of the nuanced opinions surrounding school safety, active shooter drills, and preventive measures against gun violence in schools. The findings underscore the multifaceted nature of this complex issue and highlight the diverse preferences and concerns shaping public discourse on education and safety.

Dig Deeper With Our Longreads

Newsletter Sign up to get our best longform features, investigations, and thought-provoking essays, in your inbox every Sunday.

The MEN was founded by John Huber in the fall of 2020. It was founded to provide a platform for expert opinion and commentary on current issues that directly or indirectly affect education. All opinions are valued and accepted providing they are expressed in a professional manner. The Maryland Education Network consists of Blogs, Videos, and other interaction among the K-12 community.