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Two-Thirds of Chicago Parents Worried About Possible Shooting at Their Children’s School

March 30, 2023

With 157 school shootings in the United States since 2018, as well as increasingly common mass shootings in other public places, parents fear that a similar tragedy could strike in Chicago. In a recent survey from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, 67 percent of Chicago parents were worried about a possible shooting at their children’s school and 73 percent worried that a mass shooting might occur in another public place.  

A substantial proportion of parents also perceived that their children are worried about mass shootings, both at their school (40 percent) and at another public place (43 percent). Their children’s fears about school shootings were associated with lower scores on measures of well-being and higher scores on measures of 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,” said Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Department of Medicine at Lurie Children’s, Executive Vice President and Chief Community Health Transformation Officer at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children’s, and Chair of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “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.”

Over 1,000 parents from all 77 community areas in Chicago were surveyed from October through November 2022 via the Voices of Child Health in Chicago Parent Panel Survey. All analyses were conducted with statistical weighting so that the results are representative of the parent population in the City of Chicago during the period of data collection.

“Getting involved with advocacy organizations can be a powerful way to transform worry into action,” said Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH, Medical Director at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children’s, and Professor of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Sheehan also holds the Arnold-Gorter Family Professorship in Healthy Communities. “Contacting your legislator to demand action is another important step all of us can take to reduce gun violence.”

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Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.