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54th annual poll supports police officers at schools, but not armed teachers

Poll on school security measures

Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the statement below following the preliminary release of the 54th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, which explores key issues including school security.

Key findings from the 2022 PDK Poll around school security provide a clear message that ensuring the core need for physical safety throughout our school systems weighs heavily on the minds of communities across the country.

Combined with the escalating teacher shortage and the growing social and emotional needs of our children, teachers, principals and superintendents are stressed out to a degree that I have never seen in my 54 years in public education. Parents send their children off to school in the morning, trusting they will return home at the end of the school day.

We cannot make our schools armed fortresses. Whether to bring police officers into schools should be decided on a school-by-school basis. We oppose efforts to bring more guns into our schools by teachers and administrators.

If we hope to prevent future tragedies at schools, we must address school safety, gun safety and increased mental health services. Congress set the nation on the right path last month when they passed the Safer Communities Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that touches on all three critically important aspects of student health and safety.

Today’s poll results reinforce our belief that the time to address school safety is more important now than ever before.

The beginning of the PDK report itself highlights the key school security issues of armed police, metal detectors, student mental health screening, and armed teachers:

In the aftermath of the May 24 school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Americans express broad, continued support for various security measures in the nation’s public schools, including armed police, metal detectors, and mental health screening of students. At the same time, most respondents to the latest PDK Poll on public education oppose another step, allowing teachers and staff to carry guns in school.

Eighty percent of respondents to the national survey support placing armed police officers on duty when classes are in session and screening all students for mental health problems; essentially as many, 78%, support placing metal detectors at all school entrances. It’s a different story on allowing teachers and staff to arm themselves: Support falls to 45%, with 55% opposed.

Learn more about the findings from the 54th annual PDK Poll surrounding school safety. Complete results from the 54th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools will be published on August 29, 2022, at the PDK Poll Website.