Public Broadly Supports School Security Measures – But Not Armed Teachers and Staff
The 54th annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools demonstrates broad support for school security measures, with 80% of respondents supporting armed police officers on duty while classes are in session. When it comes to arming teachers and staff, however, support falls to only 45%.
Despite the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022, overall attitudes are similar to the 2018 PDK Poll, which asked the same questions of public school parents after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Other notable findings surrounding school security include:
- Allowing teachers and staff to arm themselves is the only item on which more Americans are strongly opposed, 34%, than strongly in favor, 21%. Strong opposition is in the single digits on all other suggested measures (armed police officers in school, metal detectors, and student mental health screenings).
- The sharpest divisions on school security issues are partisan, specifically on allowing armed teachers and staff. Seventy-two percent of Republicans support this, dropping to 42% of independents and 24% of Democrats.
- Armed police in schools is backed by 94% of Republicans, 78% of independents, and 70% of Democrats.
- Those with a high school diploma or less are 29 points more apt than postgraduates to strongly support metal detectors, 26 points more likely to strongly support armed police in schools, and 12 points more likely to strongly support allowing armed teachers and staff.
To learn more about the findings from the 54th annual PDK Poll surrounding school security visit pdkpoll.org. 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 pdkpoll.org.
About the PDK Poll
The PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools has been a steady reflection of U.S. opinion about public education since 1969. PDK produces the annual poll as part of its mission to engage educators and serve schools so every student thrives. The PDK Poll results provide researchers with some of the finest longitudinal data on how the public feels about the nation’s schools and education policies. Education policy makers use the poll’s findings to inform their decisions, and educators across the country use the results to guide planning and action in their communities. Since 2016, Langer Research Associates has produced the poll for PDK.