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Poll: 8-point spike in school safety fear

Dec. 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM

PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- More parents of school-aged children are expressing concern about school safety since the Connecticut mass shooting, a poll indicated.

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.

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