A Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy helps students to board a bus after a school shooting on December 13, 2013 at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.
Photo by Chris Schneider/Getty

Gun violence in schools among parents’ main concerns


As national headlines continue to spread the news of mass shootings occurring across the country and American families prepare to send their children back to their classrooms, parents rank school violence and gun-related injuries as two of their main concerns for the first time in the history of one poll.

School violence ranked fifth (44%) and gun-related injuries ninth (39%) among parents’ concerns on a national level, according to the most recent University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. The annual poll, released Monday, included gun violence in schools and communities this year for the first time ever.

Childhood obesity (55%), bullying (52%), and drug abuse (49%) landed in the top three slots, respectively. Smoking and tobacco use, neglect, Internet safety, teen pregnancy, and alcohol abuse also ranked among the top 10 worries.

The national gun debate about gun rights remains at a standstill as shooting rampages continue across the country. Congress failed to pass a bipartisan background checks bill last year, just months after the December 2012 massacre inside Sandy Hook Elementary School when 20 first-graders died.

“It’s crystal clear the gun lobby is out of touch with the concerns of American parents, including those who are gun owners,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in Amerca. “We should never have to worry that when we drop our kids off at school, we will have to pick them up at the hospital.”

Americans have witnessed at least 110 mass shootings since January 2009, or about one to two shootings each month for the past six years. The common definition of a “mass shooting” is when four or more murders occur during the same incident.

Despite recent massacres, however, school violence and gun-related injuries weren’t included on the top list of issues at the local level.

More than half — 55% — of Americans want to prohibit guns in public places, according to a Huffington Post/YouGov poll released last month.