Arlington, VA (Sept. 17, 2018) — School counselors overwhelmingly oppose efforts to arm educators as a response to gun violence in schools, according to new survey data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
Nearly three-quarters of 2,251 counselors surveyed by NACAC in May and June reported being either “somewhat opposed” or “strongly opposed” to policies that seek to arm teachers and other school staff.
The question was one of several included in the association’s annual Counseling Trends Survey to gain an understanding of the attitudes and experiences of school counselors on the topic of gun violence.
“A school counselor’s role is to support the educational process, providing vital services to students ranging from academic and college planning to social/emotional counseling,” said Joyce Smith, NACAC CEO. “School counselors made it clear that their job is not to serve as an armed police force in the school. Adding the responsibility of firearms possession and use to their workload is simply a dangerous step too far.”
Other key findings from the NACAC survey include:
- Seventy-four percent of school counselors viewed current federal, state, and local gun control measures as “too weak.”
- Forty-seven percent of school counselors reported that their responsibilities for communicating with parents about school violence had either increased or greatly increased over the past three years.
- Fifty-one percent of school counselors reported that their responsibilities related to assessing potential school violence threats had increased or greatly increased over the past three years.
- Seventy-three percent of school counselors reported that their responsibilities for mental health and/or social/emotional counseling had increased or greatly increased over the past three years.
- Twenty-one percent of school counselors reported that their schools had hired additional staff in the past three years in response to gun violence or other school safety issues.
NACAC has conducted its annual Counseling Trends Survey since 2002. This spring marked the first time respondents were asked about topics related to gun violence in schools. Both public and private school counselors were part of the survey, with 68 percent of respondents working at public schools, 18 percent employed by private non-parochial schools, and 14 percent serving students at private parochial schools.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), founded in 1937, is an organization of nearly 16,000 professionals from around the world dedicated to serving students as they make choices about pursuing postsecondary education. NACAC is committed to maintaining high standards that foster ethical and social responsibility among those involved in the transition process, as outlined in the association's Statement of Principles of Good Practice: NACAC’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practices.
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