Poll: Parents Raise Alarm About School Violence, Bullying, Mental Health

 parents are concerned about how schools are addressing the threat of violence
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Photo: Humanium

Boston, MA— A new poll released today by the National Parents Union found 84% of parents are concerned about how schools are addressing the threat of violence, and 59% say children experiencing increased bullying or violence in school is a major issue.

Further, 52% say student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a major issue, as well. The survey, which was conducted November 19-23, included 1,233 parents who are also registered voters.

The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence what exactly concerns them the most. The top three most pressing concerns are:

  • 44%: schools not having enough counselors, psychologists or social workers to work with students
  • 42%: schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools
  • 39%: schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus

These findings underscore the importance of the very thing we have been imploring school leaders across the country to do: listen to the parents in your community. It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and President of the National Parents Union. “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources. Now, it is incumbent on schools to do something about these issues, especially given the federal funds available. It’s not rocket science. Rather than repaint a football field, first make sure that there are enough counselors to help students cope with mental health issues.”

Schools Teaching about Race and Diversity

  • 59% of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; Among Black parents, 69% share this sentiment, a number that drops slightly to 67% among Hispanic parents.
  • Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79%): 48% say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race; 42% are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students
  • 56% of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern 32% are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough
  • 46% of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern


  • 78% of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues Nearly half (46%) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students

Trust in political parties

38% of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31% trust Republicans; 14% trust both equally; 11% trust neither Among parents who identify as Independents, 28% trust Republicans and 20% trust Democrats


1,233 parents of K-12 students

Field Dates: November 19-23, 2021

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The National Parents Union is a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States. NPU unites these organizations behind a common set of principles that put children and families at the center of the national education narrative. With delegates representing each of the 50 states, NPU disrupts the traditional role of parent voice in policy spaces and develops a new narrative that is inclusive of families from a wide variety of intersectional perspectives.

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