34% of Public High School Teachers Say Their School Had Gun-Related Lockdown Last Year

The Pew Research Center asked K-12 public school teachers about their experiences with lockdowns and fears surrounding school gun violence.

34% of Public High School Teachers Say Their School Had Gun-Related Lockdown Last Year

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Nearly one in four public school teachers experienced a gun-related lockdown last school year, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

Researchers asked K-12 public school teachers about their experiences with lockdowns and fears surrounding gun violence in schools. About a quarter (23%) said they experienced a lockdown during the 2022-2023 school year due to a gun or suspicion of a gun in their school. Some 8% said it happened more than once in their school.

High school teachers were most likely to experience a gun-related lockdown (34%), followed by middle school teachers (23%) and elementary school teachers (16%).

Teachers in urban schools are also more likely to report that their school had a gun-related lockdown (31%) compared with teachers in suburban schools (19%) and in rural schools (20%).

Are Teachers Worried About School Shootings?

When asked if they are worried about the possibility of a shooting happening in their school, 59% said they are at least somewhat worried while 18% said they’re extremely or very worried. Another 31% said they are not too worried and 7% said they are not worried at all.

 

Do Teachers Feel Prepared to Respond to School Shooting?

The survey also asked teachers if they feel their school has prepared them for responding to a potential active shooter. Approximately 39% said their school has done a fair or poor job providing them with training and resources. Another 30% said their school is doing good and 30% said their school is doing excellent/very good.

While teachers in urban schools are the most likely to experience a gun-related lockdown, they are also the least likely to report their school has done an excellent or very good job preparing them — 21% compared with 32% of teachers in suburban schools and 35% in rural schools.

Teachers who have police officers or armed security in their schools are more likely than those who don’t to say their school has done an excellent or very good job preparing them (36% vs. 22%).

What Will Help Prevent School Shootings?

When asked how effective some measures would be at preventing school shootings, 69% agreed better mental health treatment would be highly effective. Another 24% said it would be somewhat effective while 5% said it would be not too/not at all effective.

Almost half said having police officers or armed security would be highly effective while 33% said metal detectors would be highly effective.

Only around one in eight (13%) said allowing teachers and administrators to carry guns in schools would be extremely or very effective at preventing school shootings while seven in ten said it would be not too or not at all effective. Around 3% said their school allows staff to carry guns.

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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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