A quarter of the nation’s school teachers reported a gun-related lockdown last year

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Protestors marched against gun violence at City Hall in Los Angeles in 2022 following an elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers, and other mass shootings. New research shows that a quarter of teachers in the U.S. last year reported a gun-related lockdown in their schools. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Protestors marched against gun violence at City Hall in Los Angeles in 2022 following an elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers, and other mass shootings. New research shows that a quarter of teachers in the U.S. last year reported a gun-related lockdown in their schools. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) — A quarter of teachers in the United States say their school went into a gun-related lockdown in the last year, and more than half worry about a shooting at their school, new data from the Pew Research Center show.

The study comes amid a record high in school shootings. There were 83 reported in 2023, a quarter of a century after a mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado thrust the issue to the forefront of the national psyche, and began a trend of similar incidents that have become almost commonplace.

Gun control issues will be an issue in the 2024 election campaigns.

According to the report, 23% of teachers said they experienced a lockdown in the 2022-23 school year over a gun or suspicion of a gun at their place of work, while 15% said it happened once during the year and 8% reported it happening more than once.

“A third of high school teachers reported going into a gun-related lockdown, 22% of middle school teachers and 16% of teachers in elementary school teachers,” the report continued.

Teachers in urban schools were more likely to report gun-related lockdowns, it said, with 19% of suburban teachers and 20% of teachers in rural schools reported going into lockdown.

Nearly 40% of teachers say their schools have done a poor or fair job training them and providing the resources they need to respond to an active shooter. Fewer than a third say they have been given excellent or very good training, and 30% say their schools have done a good job preparing them.

Only 21% of teachers in urban areas say they are least likely to know how to respond in the event of an active shooter, compared to about a third in suburban and rural schools.

“Teachers who have police officers or armed security stationed in their school are more likely than those who don’t to say their school has done an excellent or very good job preparing them for a potential active shooter (36% vs. 22%),” the report said.

Overall, 56% of teachers say they have police officers or armed security stationed at their school, with 64% of those at rural schools and 56% at suburban schools reporting this, compared with 48% in urban schools.

“Only 3% of teachers say teachers and administrators at their school are allowed to carry guns in school,” according to the report. “This is slightly more common in school districts where a majority of voters cast ballots for Donald Trump in 2020 than in school districts where a majority of voters cast ballots for Joe Biden (5% vs. 1%).”

The survey also asked teachers how effective certain measures would be at preventing school shootings.

Nearly 70% of teachers said improving mental health screening and treatment for children and adults would be extremely or very effective at staving off gun-related incidents in schools, while nearly half say having police officers or armed security in schools would be highly effective. A third say the same about metal detectors.

“Just 13% say allowing teachers and school administrators to carry guns in schools would be extremely or very effective at preventing school shootings. Seven-in-10 teachers say this would be not too or not at all effective,” the report said.

The report also shows teachers’ opinions varied by political party.

It found that Republican and Republican-leaning teachers are more likely than Democratic and Democratic-leaning teachers to say it would be highly effective to have police officers or armed security in schools at 69% to 37%, installing metal detectors in schools at 43% to 27% and allowing teachers and school administrators to carry guns at 28% to 3%.

Majorities in both parties say improving mental health screening and treatment would be highly effective at preventing school shootings, with 73% of Democratic teachers saying this compared to 66% of Republican teachers.

Beyond teachers and school administrators as well as parents are also worried about gun violence and school shootings, and Pew asked them a similar set of questions in 2022.

“Roughly a third of parents with K-12 students (32%) said they were extremely or very worried about a shooting ever happening at their child’s school. An additional 37% said they were somewhat worried,” the report said.

Improving mental health screening and treatment was the strategy most parents at 63% said would be extremely or very effective at preventing school shootings, and allowing teachers and school administrators to carry guns in schools was seen as the least effective.

“In fact, half of parents said this would be not too or not at all effective. This question was asked of all parents with a child younger than 18, regardless of whether they have a child in K-12 schools,” the report continued.

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Publish date : 2024-04-12 05:55:03

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