Sen. Warren Releases Survey on Gun Violence Prevention: School Hardening Is Not a Solution

By Susan Jones | August 10, 2018 | 5:43 AM EDT

The survey was distributed to Massachusetts education and teachers' organizations. (Photo: Screen shot of survey)

( - Sen. Elizabeth Warren is asking the Trump administration to seriously examine recommendations from her Massachusetts constituents on keeping schools safe.

Warren and her fellow Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Katherine Clark on Thursday released the results of a survey of 384 Bay State educators, administrators, and parents on what the federal government should do to "reduce gun violence in schools."

Survey respondents recommended:

-- Rejecting policies that put more guns in schools. In other words, no guns in the hands of untrained teachers. "Notably, roughly 90 percent of respondents expressed the view that arming teachers would not reduce rates of gun violence in school," said the news release announcing the survey results. However, the survey found that roughly 57 percent of respondents, mostly school administrators, indicated that arming school resource officers and guards would make students and teachers “more safe.”

-- Stregthening existing gun laws and making it harder to get firearms. "Nearly 70 percent of respondents cited firearm access as a primary cause of gun violence in school, and many identified strong gun regulation as a key way to reduce violence."

-- Increasing support for mental health services. "Over 90 percent of survey takers felt that making it easier for students to speak with counselors, therapists, and other emotional support professionals would reduce the risk of gun violence."

Warren and Clark noted that while nearly two-thirds of survey respondents "generally support enhancing school building security," they "do not consider it a solution to gun violence." Survey respondents expressed "substantial concern" that hardening school buildings (as the nation does with airports, courthouses and the halls of Congress, for example) would undermine "nurturing, supportive learning environments" for students.

The two Massachusetts Democrats sent the survey, titled "Keeping Schools Safe: Perspectives from Massachusetts Educators and Families" to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who chairs President Trump's Commission on School Safety.

"Massachusetts has the lowest rate of gun deaths in the county and can serve as a model for the federal government to develop policies that will keep our students and communities safe," said Senator Warren. "I urge Secretary DeVos and the Commission to take these recommendations from our constituents seriously and act now to curb gun violence."

Warren and Clark sent the survey to eight education organizations, including teachers unions and the PTA, asking them to voluntarily circulate the survey among their members.

The survey consisted of a set of mostly multiple choice and a few open-ended questions, which are included in the survey's appendix.

In total, 384 people submitted responses to the survey, including 125 self-identified teachers, 108 self-identified parents or guardians, 62 self-identified principals and school administrators, 23 self-identified education support professionals (counselors or nurses) and 21 self-identified superintendents and school district leaders. Forty-five individuals did not self-identify as any of those groups.

The offices of Senator Warren and Representative Clark analyzed survey responses, which are presented as Tables 1-3 in the Appendix.

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