A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Dec. 19-22 said 33 percent of adults asked said they fear for their oldest child's safety at school. Twenty-five percent of respondents said they feared for their child's safety in August.
The poll data were compiled after a 20-year-old gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14. Twenty of the victims were children ages 6 or 7 years.
This is the highest level of concern about school violence recorded since October 2006 when 35 percent of those asked said they were fearful after a deadly shooting at an Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County, Pa.
The shootings at Columbine High School in April 1999 cause a spike in fearfulness up to 55 percent, pollsters said.
It is unclear why the fear percentages had diminished over the past decade, Gallup said.
Gallup surveyed a random sampling of 1,038 adults by landline and mobile phone. The respondents live in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 4 percentage points.