Schools

Survey: Majority of parents are concerned about children’s emotional wellbeing, physical safety in BPS schools

Satisfaction with the district has also fallen since August 2021, the new poll shows.

Students walk down a hallway at Jeremiah Burke High School.
Students walk down a hallway at Jeremiah Burke High School. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

A majority of parents with kids in the Boston Public Schools are concerned about both their children’s emotional wellbeing and physical safety while at school, a new poll from MassINC Polling group found. Parents are also overall less satisfied with the school system than in August 2021.

The survey, which was supported by The Shah Family Foundation, was the fifth wave of polling conducted to gauge the views and experiences of parents of BPS students. This data was collected from Nov. 16 through 28 and includes responses from 850 parents. 

Almost 70% of parents reported being concerned about their child’s physical safety while at school, with 44% saying they are “very concerned” and 25% saying they are “somewhat concerned.” This was mirrored in terms of emotional wellbeing: 42% of respondents reported being “very concerned” about their child’s emotional wellbeing while at school, joined by 29% saying they are “somewhat concerned.”

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In response to questions about both emotional wellbeing and physical safety, Black, Latino, and Asian parents showed higher rates of concern. 

The number of parents who said they are satisfied with the school district has fallen since August 2021, when the first phase of the survey was conducted. In August 2021, 42% reported being “very satisfied” with BPS, a figure that has now fallen to 32%. The number who reported they are “somewhat satisfied” however has grown slightly — from 45% in August 2021 to 47% now.

“The satisfaction level in this wave was similar to what we found in the wave we put out in August of this year. That’s somewhat down from the surveys that we’ve done earlier,” the president of the MassINC Polling Group, Steve Koczela, told GBH. “It’s not a huge surprise. We’re looking at satisfaction from a lot of different angles, and it kind of echoed some of the other things that we were seeing throughout the poll.”

As students are in the third year of learning impacted by COVID-19, a majority of parents (58%) report that their children are on track academically. That is not the universal experience however; the poll shows that almost a quarter (24%) of parents think their child has fallen behind academically. 

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In terms of support for students facing pandemic-related issues, a slim majority (51%) of all parents surveyed believe the schools are doing enough to support students who have fallen behind. The picture is a bit different among parents who think their kids have fallen behind, with 57% of them reporting they think BPS should do more to help students catch up.

Read the poll’s full results online.

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