SURVEY: California Voters Say Mental Health Care and Emergency Preparedness Are Best Ways to Prevent School Violence (and We’Ced weighs in!)

February 4, 2013 /

The California Endowment is a private, statewide health foundation, which was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno, and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people’s health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The Endowment’s homepage at The following is a report written by The California Endowment after polling more than 1,200 CA voters on issues regarding school violence and the best ways to prevent these unfortunate incidents. Please keep reading to check out We’Ced‘s response to the survey and issues discussed. 


Sacramento, CA – California voters strongly believe that more mental health services and better emergency response training for school staff are the best strategies for preventing violence in schools, according to a survey of 1,200 voters released today by The California Endowment. When asked whether hiring a school counselor or a police officer would be more effective at preventing violence, voters chose counselors by a margin of more than two to one (67% to 26%).

“California voters understand that counseling and mental health services can help prevent senseless tragedies on campus—and frankly, that focus on prevention has been the missing ingredient from school safety efforts in recent years,” said Barbara Raymond, Director of Schools Policy for The California Endowment.

“Addressing gun policy and smart policing strategies are important pieces of the puzzle, but we can’t make schools safe without also improving mental health services. Counselors, nurses, and other support services are part of a range of strategies that will help make Health Happen in Schools, because we know the physical and emotional well-being of students is essential to their academic success,” Raymond said.

[pullquote_right]“Addressing gun policy and smart policing strategies are important pieces of the puzzle, but we can’t make schools safe without also improving mental health services.” – Barbara Raymond, Director of Schools Policy for The California Endowment[/pullquote_right]

The survey was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) on behalf of The California Endowment, which advocates for healthier school environments through its Health Happens in Schools campaign. The survey measured voter support for a wide range of policy options currently under consideration in Sacramento and Washington. Of the options considered, California voters supported emergency preparedness measures and expansions in mental health services most strongly.

For example:

  • 96% of California voters support training school staff in emergency response (including 78% “strongly support”);
  • 96% support requiring every school to have a comprehensive safety plan (79% strongly—California law currently requires schools to maintain safety plans and update them annually by March 1);
  • 91% support training teachers in conflict resolution techniques (64% strongly);
  • 91% support expanding mental health services in communities (69% strongly);
  • 91% support providing mental “first aid” training to school staff, so they can recognize the signs of mental illness in young people (64% strongly);
  • 84% support increasing the number of trained counselors in schools (55% strongly);
  • 50% support putting armed police officers in every school (23% strongly); and
  • Only 31% support allowing teachers trained in firearms to carry guns on school grounds (16% strongly).

read more about the survey and its results at The California Endowment’s website.

Here at We’Ced, we discussed the survey, the results and the report. We had the idea of taking the survey ourselves to see how young people’s opinions might look. Click over to the next page to see the results after we took the survey and read some feedback our young people had both on the survey itself and the issue of more support in our schools.

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