Students Less Insecure About School Safety Than Their Parents

A wide-ranging survey on a multitude of education topics among adults and high schoolers found that the students viewed school safety differently from their parents. Alongside its larger 2019 Education Next survey, researchers also surveyed a sample of 415 high school parents and their oldest high school child and discovered that the students were less likely than their parents to think their schools should take additional security measures.

Roughly four in 10 parents (41 percent) and students (38 percent) felt "very" or "extremely" confident that the student's school could provide sufficient security against a shooting attack (compared to just 16 percent of the general population). However, that's where the similarities in the area of safety ended.

While 77 percent of parents would install metal detectors in every school, just 63 percent of their children would do the same. Also, 81 percent of parents would screen all students for severe emotional distress while 73 percent of the high-schoolers would. Even though 85 percent of parents supported having armed police officers in their children's schools, 80 percent of students did.

As the researchers noted, "Although both parents and students lack confidence in their school's level of security, it seems students are less likely to think that interventions such as these would address their concerns."

Students assigned lower grades overall to their schools than their parents did. While 68 percent of students would issue an A or B grade to their own high schools, 82 percent of parents would. Yet, when it came to public schools nationwide, 46 percent of students would give an A or B, while just 38 percent of parents would.

In the area of annual testing requirements, students were far less likely to want testing (52 percent) than parents (75 percent) or even the public at large (74 percent). The use of Common Core State Standards was also less accepted by students (34 percent) than by parents (50 percent).

Students were more likely to support the idea of making public four-year colleges free nationwide. While 77 percent of high schoolers supported that, 68 percent of parents and 60 percent of the public did as well.

Additional survey results comparing high school students to their parents are available on the Education Next website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.