Parents’ Expectations of High Schools in Firearm Violence Prevention

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Abstract

Firearm violence remains a significant problem in the US (with 2787 adolescents killed in 2015). However, the research on school firearm violence prevention practices and policies is scant. Parents are major stakeholders in relation to firearm violence by youths and school safety in general. The purpose of this study was to examine what parents thought schools should be doing to reduce the risk of firearm violence in schools. A valid and reliable questionnaire was mailed to a national random sample of 600 parents who had at least one child enrolled in a public secondary school (response rate = 47%). Parents perceived inadequate parental monitoring/rearing practices (73%), peer harassment and/or bullying (58%), inadequate mental health care services for youth (54%), and easy access to guns (51%) as major causes of firearm violence in schools. The school policies perceived to be most effective in reducing firearm violence were installing an alert system in schools (70%), working with law enforcement to design an emergency response plan (70%), creating a comprehensive security plan (68%), requiring criminal background checks for all school personnel prior to hiring (67%), and implementing an anonymous system for students to report peer concerns regarding potential violence (67%). Parents seem to have a limited grasp of potentially effective interventions to reduce firearm violence.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. 1.

    Children’s Defense Fund. (2013). Protect children not guns. Washington, DC: Children’s Defense Fund.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Butkus, R., Doherty, R., Downey, H., & American College of Physicians Health and Public Policy Committee. (2014). Reducing firearm-related injuries and deaths in the United States: Executive summary of a policy position paper from the American College of Physicians. Annuals of Internal Medicine, 160, 858–860.

  3. 3.

    Price, J. H., & Khubchandani, J. (2017). Adolescent homicides, suicides, and the role of firearms: A narrative review. American Journal of Health Education, 48(2), 67–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Cohen, A. O., Breiner, K., Steinberg, L., Bonnie, R. J., Scott, E. S., Taylor-Thompson, K. A., Rudolph, M. D., Chein, J., Richeson, J. A., Heller, A. S., Silverman, M. R. (2016) When is an adolescent an adult? Assessing cognitive control in emotional and nonemotional contexts. Psychological Science, 24, 0956797615627625.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Schuster, M. A., Franke, T. M., Bastian, A. M., Sors, S., & Halfon, N. (2000). Firearm storage patterns in US homes with children. American Journal of Public Health, 90, 588–594.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS (Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). (2017). Retrieved February 9, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/.

  7. 7.

    Schwebel, D. C., Lewis, T., Simon, T. R., Elliott, M. N., Toomey Sl, Tortolero, S. R., Cuccaro, P. M., & Schuster, M. A. (2014). Prevalence and correlates of firearm ownership in the homes of fifth graders: Birmingham, AL, Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA. Health Education and Behavior, 20(10), 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Johnson, R. M., Runyan, C. W., Coyne-Beasley, T., Lewis, M. A., & Bowling, J. M. (2008). Storage of household firearms: an examination of the attitudes and beliefs of married women with children. Health Education Research, 23(4), 592–602.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Baxley, F., & Miller, M. (2006). Parental misperceptions about children and firearms. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 160, 542–547.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Howard, P. K. (2005). Parents’ beliefs about children and gun safety. Pediatric Nursing, 31(5), 374–379.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Grossman, D. C., Mueller, B. A., Riedy, C., Dowd, M. D., Villaveces, A., Prodzinski, J., et al. (2005). Gun storage practices and risk of youth suicide and unintentional firearm injuries. Journal of the American Medical Association, 293(6), 707–714.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Miller, M., Azrael, D., Hemenway, D., & Vriniotis, M. (2005). Firearm storage practices and rates of unintentional firearm deaths in the United States. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 37, 661–667.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Johnson, R. M., Miller, M., Vriniotis, M., Azrael, D., & Hemenway, D. (2006). Are household firearms stored less safely in homes with adolescents? Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 160, 788–792.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Johnson, R. M., Coyne-Beasley, T., & Runyan, C. W. (2004). Firearm ownership and storage practices, US households, 1992–2002: A systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27, 173–182.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Azrael, D., Miller, M., & Hemenway, D. (2000). Are household firearms stored safely? It depends on whom you ask. Pediatrics, 106(3), e31.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Hemenway, D., Sonick, S. J., & Azrael, D. R. (1995). Firearm training and storage. Journal of the American Medical Association, 273, 46–50.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Weil, D. S., & Hemenway, D. (1992). Loaded guns in the home: Analysis of a national random survey of gun owners. Journal of the American Medical Association, 150(3), 265–269.

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Senturia, Y. D., Christoffel, K. K., & Donovan (1996). Gun storage patterns in US homes with children. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 150(3), 265–269.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Kandakai, T. L., Price, J. H., Telljohann, S. K., & Wilson, C. A. (1999). Mothers’ perceptions of factors influencing violence in schools. Journal of School Health, 69(5), 189–195.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Bliss, M. J., Emshoff, J., Buck, C. A., & Cook, S. L. (2006). Parents’ perceptions of causes and solutions for school violence: Implications for policy. Journal of Primary Prevention, 27(3), 265–280.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    US Department of Education. (2017). What are the new back to school statistics for 2016? Retrieved February 9, 2017, from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372.

  22. 22.

    Thompson, A., Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., Bryant, M., Reindl, D., & Hogue, P. (2012). Physician assistants training on firearm injury prevention. Patient Education and Counseling, 86(3), 348–353.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., Payton, E., & Thompson, A. (2016). Reducing the risks of firearm violence in high schools: Principals’ perceptions and practices. Journal of Community Health, 41(2), 234–243.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Thompson, A., Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., & Dowling, J. (2011). Sheriff’s perceptions of firearm control polices. Journal of Community Health, 36(5), 715–720.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Price, J. H., Dake, J. A., Murnan, J., Dimmig, J., & Akpanudo, S. (2005). Power analysis in survey research: Importance and use for health educators. American Journal of Health Education, 36(4), 202–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Raosoft, Inc. (2017). Sample size calculator. Retrieved March 18, 2017, from http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html.

  27. 27.

    Zhang, A., Musu-Gillette, L., Oudekerk, B. A. (2015). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2015. NCES 2016-079. NCJ 249758. National Center for Education Statistics, May 2016.

  28. 28.

    Kimberlin, C. L., & Winterstein, A. G. (2008). Validity and reliability of measurement instruments used in research. American Journal of Health Systems Pharmacy, 65(23), 2276–2284.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Drost, E. A. (2011). Validity and reliability in social science research. Education Research and Perspectives, 38(1), 105.

    Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Edwards, P., Roberts, I., Clarke, M., DiGuiseppi, C., Pratap, S., Wentz, R., & Kwan, I. (2002). Increasing response rates to postal questionnaires: Systematic review. British Medical Journal, 324(7347), 1183.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Price, J. H., Murnan, J., Dake, J. A., Dimmig, J., & Hayes, M. (2004). Mail survey return rates published in health education journals: An issue of external validity. American Journal of Health Education, 35(1), 19–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Price, J. H., Khubchandani, J., & Payton, E. (2015). Vision impaired or professionally blind: Health education research and firearm violence. Health Promotion Practice, 16(3), 316–319.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Vossekuil, B. (2002) The final report and findings of the safe school initiative: Implications for the prevention of school attacks in the United States. Collingdale, PA: Diane Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James H. Price.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Drs. Payton, Khubchandani, Thompson, and Price have no conflict of interest to declare for this research.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Payton, E., Khubchandani, J., Thompson, A. et al. Parents’ Expectations of High Schools in Firearm Violence Prevention. J Community Health 42, 1118–1126 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-017-0360-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Firearm
  • Violence
  • Schools
  • Parents
  • Prevention
  • Children