Survey: School Security Major Concern Among Parents Of Children In Grades K-8

As millions of students start a new school year, results of a new survey indicate that nearly half of the parents of kindergartners to eighth graders are concerned about school security.

Details of the ADT National Back-to-School Security Survey were announced recently during a news conference at an elementary school in the nation’s capital. The survey of 1,948 parents was conducted late last month by Zogby International and has a margin of error of +/- 2.3 percent.

Among the findings, nearly half of the respondents expressed concerns that a sexual predator could target their child while at school and more than a third have concerns that their child could be abducted by a stranger. A majority said they’d be willing to pay for additional security systems to help schools keep unwanted visitors off campuses.

“Through this survey, parents are making it clear they want local school boards to do more to protect children,” said Patrick Fiel, ADT’s public security advisor and a former head of security for Washington, D.C. Public Schools. “We need cooperation among adults and children, proper planning and more innovation to ensure that young students are as safe as possible.”

There are currently more than 500,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S., according to the National Alert Registry. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports more than 700 children are abducted each day.

“These numbers underscore the need for all stakeholders in education to help improve school safety,” said Brad Dennis, director of search operations for the KlaasKids Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps stop crimes against children. “By forming and promoting partnerships with concerned parents and other citizens, we can become part of the solution to keep our kids safe.”

Highlights of the survey include:

  • 46 percent of parents said they were very or somewhat concerned with the security at their child’s school.
  • 45 percent of parents were very or somewhat concerned that their child could be targeted by a sexual predator while at school.
  • 38 percent expressed at least some concern that their child could be abducted while at school by a stranger.
  • 36 percent are concerned that a violent episode, such as a school shooting could occur at their child’s school.
  • 58 percent said they would be very or somewhat willing to pay for additional security at their child’s school.

Among survey respondents, 55 percent said it was important for their child’s school district to implement a visitor identification management system and 54 percent agreed that every state should require one at schools.

Currently, only Florida mandates these systems be implemented in all public schools. These computerized systems allow schools to scan the driver’s license of a visitor and check the name with a government database for criminal offenses and sex offender registration. The systems can also flag people who should not have access to a child, such as a non-custodial parent. Once visitor access is granted, an ID badge is issued that must be worn during the visit.

Also announced recently, ADT is offering a free child safety kit. Designed for children up to 14-years-old, the free kit includes a variety of safety tips, a way to fingerprint kids and a physical information page. To make a request, visit www.adt.com.

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