It’s been eight months since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but many parents are still being afraid for their children’s safety.
Gallup released a new poll on Thursday as millions of children across the country return to school, asking 508 parents of children between kindergarten and 12th grade whether they feel their oldest child is at risk of violence in his or her school. The survey found that 33 percent of those parents fear for their child’s safety, the same percentage as when this question was asked after 26 children and teachers were massacred at the Newtown, Conn., school in December 2012.
After the shooting, President Obama and many Democratic leaders attempted to pass several bills related to gun safety, including a ban on assault rifles, stricter background checks, harsher penalties for illegal gun trafficking, and new measures for school safety. All of them failed because of opposition from Republicans who feared the measures would infringe on the Second Amendment and privacy rights of law-abiding citizens.
The president, instead, vowed to attempt to revive this debate later and, for the time being, pursue executive actions that he said would help protect children. On Thursday, the Obama administration revealed two more executive actions: one that closes a loophole to restrict access to some of the more dangerous weapons, including machine guns and short-barreled shotguns; and one that will deny requests to bring military-grade firearms back to the United States to private entities, with a few exceptions such as museums (since 2005, the government has allowed 250,000 of these weapons to come back to the U.S.).
Following the Connecticut shootings, Obama announced that the administration would pursue 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence, including measures to improve mental health and improve school safety.
In the five years leading up to the Newtown massacre, parents of children between kindergarten and 12th grade were less worried about school safety. In 2008, just 15 percent of those parents felt their child was in danger, according to Gallup.
But this doesn’t mean the U.S. is at its peak in parental concern for school safety. The shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado shook parents to the core, it seems, more than the Newtown shooting. In the aftermath of those shootings in April 1999, 55 percent of parents said they were worried about school safety. That number remained high for two years.
And perhaps the sad truth about why parental fear is not as high as it was following Columbine, Gallup explains, is that “Americans may be a bit more accustomed to hearing about similar tragedies today than at the turn of the century.”
It’s also not surprising that fear for school safety varied by income levels, and that lower-income parents have greater fear than those with more means. Parents whose income is less than $50,000, which is near the national average, are twice as worried as parents with incomes over that level. The reason likely has to do with the areas in which lower-income Americans live, where violence is more likely.
But it might be some comfort that children are less likely to express worry or concern for their safety while in schools. Just 10 percent of parents say their children feel unsafe when they go back to school.
This Gallup survey was conducted by phone Aug. 7-11, and has a sampling error of 5 percentage points.
What We're Following See More »
"Jon Stewart could arrive on HBO in time for the November presidential election. In a Paley Media Council interview Thursday with CNN’s Brian Stelter, HBO CEO Richard Plepler was asked whether viewers could expect to see Stewart, former host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” on HBO before the general election. 'Yeah, I’m hopeful,' Plepler said."
Beginning next month, Metro will begin a series of "about 15 separate large-scale work projects," each of which will close down stations and/or sections of track for up to weeks at a time. The entire initiative is expected to take about a year. The Washington Post has a list of the schedule of closures, and which lines and stations they'll affect.
A day after saying he could not yet support Donald Trump's presidential bid, House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited the billionaire to a meeting in Washington next week with House leadership. Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus will also meet separately with Trump.
"President Obama used the White House podium on Friday to dismiss Donald Trump as an unserious candidate to succeed him, and said leading the country isn't a job that's suited to reality show antics." At a briefing with reporters, the president said, "I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. And what that means is that every candidate, every nominee needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny."
In the The White House on Thursday night unveiled a series of executive actions to combat money laundering—"among the most comprehensive response yet to the Panama Papers revelations." The president's orders will tighten transparency rules, close loopholes that allow "foreigners to hide financial activity behind anonymous entities in the U.S., and demand stricter “customer due diligence” rules for banks.