Nearly 60% of teachers worry about possible school shootings

Nearly 25% of teachers report having gone into lockdown last school year in response to a possible gun-related threat, new research shows.

In 2023 alone, there were a record number of school shooting incidents on K12 campuses totaling 348, according to the “K-12 School Shooting Database.” For obvious reasons, many teachers are scared about the possibility of it happening at their schools.

That’s according to new research from the nonpartisan fact tank the Pew Research Center, which surveyed more than 2,500 public school teachers about their views on school shootings.

It’s been nearly 25 years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, and we’ve witnessed a number of deadly school shootings since. As a result, a staggering 59% of teachers say they’re at least “somewhat worried” about the possibility of a shooting occurring at their school. This includes 18% of those who reported feeling “extremely” or “very worried.”

Only 7% of teachers said they were not worried at all. Another 31% “are not too worried.”

Given the number of shootings in the past few years, a decent amount of teachers say they’ve gone into lockdown in response to a gun or suspicion of a gun on school property during the 2022-23 school year. Eight percent of teachers report going into lockdown more than once.

High school teachers were more likely to experience lockdowns, the survey adds. Thirty-four percent reported going into at least one gun-related lockdown last school year, compared to 22% of middle school teachers and 16% of elementary school teachers.

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The most notable finding reflects how teachers feel their school is doing at preparing them for an active threat. The results may surprise you.

Only three in 10 teachers said their school has done an “excellent” or “very good” job at preparing and training their staff. Thirty percent said their school is doing a “good” job, while nearly 40% said the work was “fair” or “poor.”

“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,” the survey reads.

Teachers were also asked to list the strategies they think could best prevent school shootings. Here’s what they said would be “extremely” or “very” effective:

  • Improving mental health screening and treatment for students/adults (69%)
  • Having police officers/armed security (49%)
  • Implementing metal detectors (33%)
  • Allowing teachers/administrators to carry guns (13%)
Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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