the shape of leadership

Students Return to Class Amid Fears

Families are anxious this school year, Gallup shows

As another academic year resumes, more U.S. parents are worried about their children heading back to school.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 35 percent of parents said they fear for the kids’ physical safety at school, up from 24 percent a year ago. This represents the highest share of parental anxiety at the start of any school year since August 1999, a few months after the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado (when 47 percent of parents were fearful).

Moms and dads aren’t the only ones who are more nervous than usual. Twenty percent of parents say their children have said they feel unsafe at school. That’s double the average of 10 percent of kids who have felt fearful since Gallup started asking this question in 2000.

Use every available opportunity to bring the presence of Jesus and the peace of the Holy Spirit to the schools in your community.

Gallup points to recent acts of violence — especially the school shooting last February in Parkland, Florida — as the likely reason for increased tension. Since that time, some schools have stepped up their active shooter drills and other safety measures, which may increase student stress.

Church leaders ministering to parents and children can offer prayer, support, and guidance to help families cope with their worries. Remind them of the promises of Scripture, pointing to passages like Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 23:4, 91:11; Matthew 28:20; and John 16:33.

Assure them that the church is backing them in prayer — and be sure to include students, teachers, administrators, and their families in corporate and staff prayer times throughout the year. And if you haven’t already done so, establish a presence on your local school campuses. Volunteer, donate school supplies, hand out teacher gifts, and encourage your youth to share their faith and invite friends to church.

Use every available opportunity to bring the presence of Jesus and the peace of the Holy Spirit to the schools in your community, for “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).


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