A new set of polls released today from Navigate360, a full-spectrum safety preparedness and response company, and John Zogby Strategies, a national polling firm, shows the majority of American adults (59%) and teenagers (61%) believe that they or someone close to them are likely to encounter a violent critical incident, experience self-harm, or contract COVID-19 or another contagious disease. The results show that safety at work, in school, and in public places is no longer an assumption held by most Americans.
Navigate360 and John Zogby Strategies partnered to assess the state of mental and physical safety and wellbeing in the United States. One poll focused on adults, and the companion poll captured the attitudes and beliefs of teenagers aged 16-17. The results revealed a great sense of uncertainty and a lack of confidence in safety and wellbeing at their respective workplaces or schools:
Some key takeaways of the study include:
- 64% of adults between the ages of 25–34 believe an event such as contracting COVID-19 or experiencing a critical violent incident could prevent them from fulfilling their life goals in their education or career. This sentiment was echoed by more than half (54%) of the nation’s teens surveyed.
- 52% of parents feel that their child’s school is more dangerous, and two in five (41%) feel their workplace is less safe than it was six months ago.
- Only 47% of adults believe that their school and workplace leaders are doing their best to create an atmosphere of physical and emotional safety. 54% reported that their office had no plan in place to deal with an emergency.
- 55% of adults report they wouldn’t know what to do should an emergency occur in school or the workplace.
- A majority of today’s teens (61%) report they are thinking more about their physical and emotional safety and wellness than they did six months ago, and over two in five said their concern for their safety has made them choose to not attend or participate in a day of school, work or another event.
- Less than half of teens surveyed (49%) believe their school is doing its best to create an atmosphere of physical and emotional safety, and only 52% believe their school is spending enough time and money to keep students safe.
- 47% of teens surveyed reported they don’t know who to call or where to report a threat. Only 31% said that they feel they’ve received adequate training in case of an emergency.
Perhaps most concerning for employers and local officials is the lack of confidence felt by more than half (56%) of all adults and teens surveyed. The majority felt that leaders in the workplace and education spaces didn’t view their safety as a priority or have a plan to deal with an emergency. These sentiments could have implications for workforce turnover rates and local school board elections and speak to the need for leaders to invest in and address safety and wellbeing concerns.
“Going forward, it is clear that creating safe environments and restoring confidence needs to be a priority for all,” said JP Guilbault, CEO of Navigate360. “Time and time again, we have seen that it is not enough to hope for the best – leaders must be prepared should an emergency occur. We must collectively build a culture of safety from the ground up that includes both physical and emotional safety and wellbeing. We need to stop simply admiring these problems —it is time for the public and private sectors to work together to solve them.”
The poll also captured the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic that has been put on America’s youth. More than 70% of teens ages 16-17 reported that the only place they feel safe is at home, and over two in five (43%) said that they chose to not attend or participate in a day of school, work, or another event out of concern for their safety.
“I’ve spent more than four decades of my life surveying Americans, and this is one of the more sad and stark results I have ever encountered,” said John Zogby, who conducted the poll. “It is undoubtedly concerning how many Americans, both adults and students alike, are worried about their futures and distrust the leaders and institutions they interact with most frequently.”
This poll is the first in a series to be conducted by Navigate360 and John Zogby Strategies, which will index and track sentiments from both adults and separately teens around feelings of safety, confidence in the future, and trust in corporate and educational leaders over time.
The poll consisted of sampling 1000 adults across the country and was conducted online on August 28, 2020. The margin of sampling error is within +/-3.2 percentage points. The poll of 303 16 and 17 year-olds nationwide was conducted online on August 29, 2020, with parental permission and has a sampling error of +/-5.7 percentage points.