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Many parents worry for child's safety in school, survey shows

By Nicholas Sakelaris
Many parents worry for child's safety in school, survey shows
Students lay notes and flowers at a makeshift memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after the April 14, 2018, attack. File Photo by Gary Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Many American parents are concerned about the safety of their children when in school -- continuing a years-long trend that emerged as the frequency of shooting attacks has grown, a new survey said Tuesday.

The Gallup poll, taken immediately following attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this month shows 34 percent of parents said they're fearful for their children in school. That figure is on par with the survey's findings last year.

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"As another school year begins, parents' latest level of fear about school safety matches last year's heightened level," Gallup said. "This may reflect parents' reaction to the two mass shootings that occurred while the poll was being fielded; or memories of the 2018 Parkland, Fla. shootings; or this may be the new normal."

Just 12 percent of school-aged children, however, expressed concern for their safety at school. Gallup said many parents actively shield their children from disturbing news events, especially shootings.

"As safety drills (such as lockdowns and shelter-in-place) have become more commonplace in U.S. schools today, children are regularly exposed to the possibility of dangerous situations happening at their schools," Gallup said.

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The concern has remained steady since Gallup's 2013 survey, which was taken eight months after 26 students and staff were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The highest level of parental fear was recorded the day after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo. -- at 55 percent. That level had dropped to 26 percent by the following year.

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