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| Paulson & Nace

August is a time when most young children around the nation go back to school, and, for the first time since 2012, parents will be less worried about their safety. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 25 percent of parents responded that they were fearful for their child’s safety while at school. This is just below the historical average of 29 percent, established over a 40-year period since Gallup began their annual Work and Education poll.

Five years ago this December is when a 20-year-old male entered the grounds of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and fatally shot over two dozen people—most young children between the ages of six and seven. The deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. at a grade school, Sandy Hook put many parents on high alert, although Gallup reported the apex of parental concern in April 1999—when the Columbine High School shooting occurred in Littleton, Colorado. As can be imagined, polls conducted soon after school violence such as the attacks in Santee, California in 2001 and the Amish schoolhouse shootings in 2006 have shown higher levels of worry. The lowest level of concern recorded was 15 percent of parents polled in 2008.

Even more interesting, Gallup has also tracked the percentage of parents who said their children have expressed concerns over school safety since 1999—currently at an all-time low of only 6 percent. This contrasts the all-time high of 22 percent that was recorded right after the Santee incident.

Of course, this represents a national average and the views of both parents and students differ from one school system to another. In related news, a recent study by WalletHub—a personal finance website based in Washington D.C.—rated public schools in all 50 states on quality and safety. Receiving top honors were schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Finding themselves at the bottom of the rankings were Washington D.C., West Virginia, New Mexico and Louisiana.

The website says that both kids and adults can feel better about school safety simply by taking the following actions:

  1. Review School Policies
  2. Meet Regularly with Teachers
  3. Encourage Conversation with your Child
  4. Rely on Technology for Assistance
  5. Confirm your Child’s Records Are Up-to-Date


Above all, experts agree that the best things you can do to alleviate worries about your child while he or she is in school is to stay involved and speak up if you suspect a problem.

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