By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior
A new poll revealed that parents continue to express “legitimate concerns” about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources.
Alarmingly, the poll released by the National Parents Union found that 59 percent of parents are very or extremely concerned about how schools are teaching race and diversity.
“Many Black parents are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students,” researchers noted in the poll.
The National Parents Union counts as a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States.
Conducted from November 19 to November 23, the survey included 1,233 parents who also count as registered voters.
Researchers found that 84 percent of parents are concerned about how schools address the threat of violence, and 59 percent identified increased bullying or violence in school as a significant issue.
About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue as well.
“Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
“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,” Rodrigues asserted.
The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence, which worries them the most.
The top three most pressing concerns remain:
• 44 percent: Schools not having enough counselors, psychologists, or social workers to work with students.
• 42 percent: Schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools.
• 39 percent: Schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus.
Further concerns included:
• 59 percent of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; among Black parents, 69 percent share this sentiment, which drops slightly to 67 percent among Hispanic parents.
Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79 percent):
• 48 percent say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race.
• 42 percent are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students.
• 56 percent of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern.
• 32 percent are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough.
• 46 percent of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern.
• 78 percent of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues.
• Nearly half (46 percent) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are harsher on students of color compared to white students.
• 38 percent of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31 percent trust Republicans; 14 percent trust both equally; 11 percent trust neither.
Among parents who identify as Independents, 28 percent trust Republicans and 20 percent trust Democrats.
“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,” Rodrigues stated.
“It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections.”