Sign of the Times: Parents So Concerned About School Safety They Are Willing to Pay for it Themselves

New survey shows kids and parents agree: anxiety runs high over school shootings with the start of new school year; experts cite need for more safe-school solutions

HOUSTON, Aug. 28, 2018 — As parents across the country head out to purchase No. 2 pencils, composition notebooks and a flurry of other back-to-school supplies, there’s one more item parents are prepared to pay for out of their own pockets: improved school security.

According to a new survey, 81% of students and 89% of parents expressed anxiety over school shootings with the start of the school year, and a majority of parents (75 percent) are willing to pay out of their own pockets to do something about it.

And while teens and parents are known to universally butt heads when it comes to agreeing on things, when asked about prioritizing funding, both parent and student survey respondents ranked improved school security as the top priority for additional funding over academics, arts and athletics.

The online survey was commissioned by Raptor Technologies®, the leader in integrated school safety technologies, and Safe and Sound Schools, a nonprofit founded by Sandy Hook parents focused on improving school safety. The survey interviewed 501 U.S. parents with K-12 kids, and 501 students ages 13-18.

“As a community concerned with school safety, we need to better address both prevention of school violence as well as preparation for such incidents,” said Eileen Shihadeh, senior vice president, Raptor Technologies. “Businesses, organizations, and schools need to come together to improve preventative measures such as identification and assessment of threatening or tell-tale behaviors, and emergency planning such as practicing regular lockdown drills and making sure schools have effective incident management tools in place.”

Michele Gay, a Sandy Hook parent who lost her daughter in the 2012 shooting and co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools added, “The fact that you’re seeing parents willing to spend their own money on school security measures speaks volumes. It’s a sign of the times that we now live in a world where parents and students feel security upgrades are outranking the need for academic or athletic priorities. This all underscores the need across the board for better solutions to help ensure a safe school year.”

The survey asked parents and students where school security and safety falls in their priorities for school improvements, and both students and parents prioritized “school safety” over academics, arts, and sports.

Additional Survey Highlights

  • The majority of parents (54 percent) felt school safety and security deserved the most additional school funding.
    • Thirty-two percent felt it should go towards academics, 6 percent towards sports and 6 percent towards art.
  • In regard to school safety risks, active shooter topped students’ “very worried” list (32 percent).
    • Nineteen percent are “very worried” about sexual assault, bullying (18 percent), physical assault (15 percent), and weather-related emergencies (7 percent).
  • On the other hand, parents are “very worried” about bullying (49 percent), followed by an active shooter (44 percent), physical assault (30 percent), sexual assault (29 percent) and weather-related emergencies (23 percent).
  • Seventy-nine percent of parents said they plan to talk to their children about school safety.
  • Seventy-one percent of students said they will pay more attention to signs of depression or violence in a classmate.

For more information on the survey, visit

About Raptor Technologies®

Raptor Technologies is the nation’s leading provider of integrated school safety technologies for K-12 schools across the United States. Founded in 2002, Raptor developed the first web based visitor management system designed for schools. The Raptor® system monitors visitors, contractors, and volunteers who enter a building and provides instant screening for sex offender status and custody orders. The system has flagged more than 50,000 registered sex offenders attempting to enter K-12 schools. In fall of 2017, the company unveiled Raptor Emergency Management®, a system that helps schools prepare for, respond to, and recover from an incident with drill management, active incident management, and parent-student reunification tools. It also provides real-time reporting dashboards that allow administrators the ability to track the status and location of every individual in the event of an emergency. In 2018, over 22,000 schools across the nation trust Raptor to help protect their schools. For more information, visit

About Safe and Sounds Schools

Founded in 2013, Safe and Sound Schools works with school communities and mental health professionals, law enforcement, and safety professionals to create and ensure the safest possible learning environment for all youth. The non-profit organization, started by parents who lost their children in the tragedy at Sandy Hook, delivers crisis prevention, response, and recovery programs, tools, and resources, backed by national experts, to educate all members of the school community, from students and parents, to teachers and administrators, to law enforcement and local leaders. Winner of the 2015 SBANE New England Innovation Award for nonprofits, Safe and Sound Schools continues to answer the growing needs of school communities with custom programs, assessments, and training, reaching schools in nearly every state in the country. For more information, visit

Survey Methodology: This survey was conducted online within the United States by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco, on behalf of Raptor Technologies and Safe and Sound. Survata interviewed 501 parents with K-12 kids between August 13-20, 2018, and 501 students ages 13-18 between August 13-15, 2018. Audience was U.S. census representative on region, ethnicity and gender. For complete survey methodology, please contact Ida Yenney.