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Poll: most US teens are worried that a shooting could happen at their school

Latino and black students are the most scared.

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

A majority of American teenagers are now worried about being the victim of a school shooting — something that is no longer an uncommon occurrence in the United States.

A new survey by the Pew Research Center shows that 57 percent of US teenagers are worried that a shooting could take place at their own school — and one in four are “very worried” about the chance. Hispanic and black kids are the most concerned. Three-quarters of Latino teens said they were worried, and 60 percent of black teens surveyed were worried about the possibility.

Pew Research Center

Researchers conducted the survey after the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people. They talked to teens ages 13 to 17 and parents with children in the same age range. It turns out the kids are almost as afraid as parents about the chance of a gunman opening fire in their classrooms. About 63 percent of parents said they were worried.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February has reignited the debate about how to keep children safe from a future attack, with President Trump and gun rights activists saying the best solution is to let teachers carry guns.

Most teens reject that idea — especially black teens. Overall, teens thought the most effective measures were to prevent people with mental illness from buying guns and to improve mental health screening and treatment. A smaller majority also thought metal detectors in schools and a ban on assault-style weapons would be helpful.

Pew Research Center

In response to the Parkland shooting, Florida passed a law that incorporates some of those measures — such as expanding mental health services and regulations — but it doesn’t ban assault-style weapons like the AR-15 used in the shooting.

Members of Congress passed their own school safety bill in March, though it only focuses on increasing security and safety training for students and school staff. They also folded a bill that strengthened the federal background check system into an omnibus spending bill passed in March.