AP-NORC Poll: Most believe schools have become less safe

In this April 20, 1999, file photo, members of a police SWAT team march to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., as they prepare to do a final search of the school after two gunmen opened fire on campus. The shooting shocked the country as it played out on TV news shows from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting made practicing for armed intruders as routine as fire drills, many parents have only tepid confidence in the ability of schools to stop a gunman, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

And while most Americans consider schools less safe than they were 20 years ago, the poll finds a majority say schools aren’t at fault for shootings. Bullying, the availability of guns, the internet and video games share more of the blame.

Lee Wisdom, a mother of two in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, believes students and staff have been trained as much as possible to prepare for an attack, but worries schools are still vulnerable to things beyond their control, like a parent holding the door for a stranger or a child sneaking his father’s gun in a backpack.