Last Year, About 25% Of K–12 Educators Experienced A Gun-related Lockdown

( — In a recently released report out of the Pew Research Center, over a quarter of America’s teachers say they’ve had at least one gun-related lockdown over the last school year. Only 2,531 teachers were polled, and all were members of RAND’s American Teacher Panel, a national, non-union, professional educators’ organization that provides nationally representative panels of public-school K–12 teachers. Approximately 8% of the teachers polled said they’d experienced more than one gun-related lockdown during the school year.

The poll addressed a lot of the issues around the seemingly unstoppable attacks that keep occurring in America’s schools. Some of the queries regarded their experiences, while others asked teachers for their opinions on causes and possible solutions. A majority of them, 69%, believe that mental health screening and treatment are vital to prevention, while 33% approve of metal detectors in schools, and only 13% want school employees to be able to carry weapons.

It is clear some things need to change, though, as many report feeling as though their school has not done an adequate job providing them with the training and resources they would need for an active shooter situation. Almost a fifth of those polled, about 18%, report being “very” or “extremely” concerned about a shooting at their schools, while almost half, 49%, said they would welcome police or armed guards on the premises as preventative and protective measures.

Recent years have seen all-time highs of school shootings, with records being broken in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and some reports suggest 2024 will top them all. Some teachers are not all that worried, with 31% saying they’re not that concerned, and 7% saying they aren’t worried at all. Some have pointed out that many of the gun-related lockdowns turn out to be false alarms or an overabundance of caution, as when schools are locked down when there is police action in the area but not on school property or even in direct vicinity of the schools. However, with an ever-worsening teacher shortage, it may be difficult to attract new staff, or keep the ones already in the profession, if fear and lack of resources make it a more dangerous job.

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