Polling data released by the Network for Public Education (NPE) shows that an overwhelming proportion of parents, teachers and students are opposed to teachers carrying guns in schools, and believe that gun control, including the banning of assault weapons, is the better solution.

Respondents also expressed overwhelming support for additional funding for support programs and school security.

NPE received over 8000 responses to its online survey available from February 25 through February 28. The survey was sent to NPE’s 330,000 supporters, and was also disseminated through social media. Only parents, teachers, and students between the ages of 14-25 were asked to respond.

Commenting on survey results, NPE Executive Director, Carol Burris, said:

“Prior to the Parkland shooting, NPE had never polled its members on issues of gun control. Although we assumed that our supporters, who are public education advocates, would favor additional funding for support services, we were surprised by their overwhelming support for gun control.” 

Key results from the survey include:

·      Only 8 percent of respondents want teachers to carry guns in school.

·      More than 9 of 10 (94 percent) support a ban on assault weapons, defined as semi-automatic weapons.

·      Nearly every respondent (99 percent) wants increased funding for violence prevention services, including counselors and threat reporting services.

·      98 percent support tougher gun ownership regulations.

·      93 percent support increased funding for security, with the caveat that security needs would be determined by the school community.

When asked to identify the top three ways to prevent gun violence in schools, respondents identified banning assault weapons, tougher gun control and increased funding for support services.

NPE President, Diane Ravitch, commented: “The most effective way to protect our children and their teachers is to block the sale of assault weapons, as Congress did from 1994-2002, with the support of President Ronald Reagan. Military weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians.” Ms. Ravitch, an education historian, was the Assistant Secretary of Education during the administration of George H. W. Bush.

The Network for Public Education (NPE) was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. Its mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education. For more information, please visit: networkforpubliceducation.org

Editor’s note: I was a member of the initial board of the Network for Public Education.