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More than half of K-12 teachers say carrying firearms in school would make kids less safe: survey

150 days, 263 mass shootings reported in U.S.
150 days, 263 mass shootings reported in U.S. so far for 2023 05:20

A newly published survey says 54% of teachers believe carrying firearms in school would make kids less safe. Still, 19% said they would be interested in carrying a gun to school, according to the RAND Corporation's survey of K-12 teachers — which would equate to more than 550,000 of the nation's 3 million K-12 teachers.

The remaining 26% said it would neither make schools more or less safe, according to the survey of 973 K-12 teachers conducted by RAND, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, between October and November 2022.

In 2022 alone there were 51 school shootings that resulted in injuries or deaths, according to Education Week, an education news publication.

Last year's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 children and two adults dead – making it one of the deadliest school shootings in the U.S.

While such events have sparked debate on how to best keep kids safe from guns in school, the issue teacher said they were most concerned about is bullying, according to the survey. 

"Despite the prevalence of anti-bullying programs, everyday school violence is a concern for teachers. Bullying, not active shooters, was teachers' most common top safety concern, followed by fights and drugs," said one of the report's authors, Heather L. Schwartz, a policy researcher at RAND.

When it came to school shootings, about half of the respondents saw physical security measures like locks, ID badges, cameras and security staff as positive. Five percent felt these measures had a negative impact on the climate at the school. 

About 80% of teachers said their school had physical safety measures. The most common of these measures are visitor systems, staff IDs and exterior and interior locks.

White teachers were more likely to believe carrying firearms at schools would make them safer, compared to Black teachers. Male teachers in rural schools were also more likely to say they would carry a firearm if the school allowed, according to the survey. 

As of Tuesday, the 150th day of the year, there have been 263 mass shootings and 327 victims killed in the U.S. – both figures the highest ever recorded this early in a year. 

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