Chicago Parents Worried About School and Mass Shootings

New data from Lurie Children’s Hospital confirms that kids are concerned about their safety at school.

When it comes to school shootings, a majority of parents are scared.

In the wake of the Nashville elementary school shooting and an increase in afterschool shootings – nine children killed in the past year – right here at home, fear about school shootings and other public mass shootings dominates parents’ worries, the latest data released from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Voices of Child Health in Chicago Parent Panel Survey found.

Nearly three out of four parents, or 73 percent, surveyed reported being worried about a mass shooting while out in public while two out of three parents, 67 percent, told researchers they are worried about a shooting at their child’s school, the survey found.

Photo credit: Voices of Child Health in Chicago, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital 2023

Since 2018, Lurie reports there have been 157 school shootings in the U.S.

Lurie says in a news release that concerns of Chicago’s parents are similar to those found in national polls, where 68 percent of parents said they were at least somewhat worried that a shooting could occur in their child’s school. The Lurie survey was conducted last fall with more than 1,000 Chicago parents from all 77 city neighborhoods.

As for their kids, more than 40 percent of parents surveyed say their children are worried about mass shootings. National studies have found that more than 60 percent of the children say the active shooter drills make them feel “scared and hopeless.”

The level of worry varied by ethnicity and location, with more than half of Latinx parents reporting that their children are worried about school shootings while 28 percent of white parents reported their kids worried.

Parents also reported that 47 percent of kids 11 and older were most likely to be worried about a school shooting, compared with 26 percent of children ages 0-5, the survey found.

Lurie also found that parents in areas in the Central and Southwest regions of the city were more likely to say their kids were worried and parents in the North and Northwest regions were least likely to say their kids were worried.

Lurie’s Chicago Parent Panel survey found that for kids in Chicago, any level of fear about school shootings was connected to lower well-being and heightened stress.

“After so many mass shooting tragedies across the country, considerable parental anxiety about their children’s safety is not surprising and is consistent with data from national polls,” says Matthew M. Davis, MD, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s and Chair of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in a news release.

“Our survey results further underscore that fears about mass shootings impact youth health and well-being, especially in the context of the ongoing youth mental health crisis.”

Resources for Families

Lurie shared the following resources for families:

It also suggested connecting with Everytown or contacting your elected representatives as ways to demand action to reduce gun violence.

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Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.


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