Who did it?
The Gallup Organization, well-known for its Gallup Poll about public opinion, conducted a survey in May 1999 of high school students about the presence of violent or violence-prone groups in their schools. This poll was done a few weeks after the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Who’s in it?
Gallup conducted phone interviews with a national sample of 403 students between the ages of 13 and 17 years old.
What did they say?
Nearly half of the students (46%) believed that their school has groups that are violent or capable of violence based on what the group members do, what they say or what they claim they will do. Of these students who believed that such groups exist at their schools, 58% thought that these groups could be dangerous or potentially dangerous to gay students and 50% reported that these group members openly talk about their hatred of gays.
As with any national poll, there is always a small margin of error. For the entire sample of 403, this margin of error is +5%. Thus, the percentage of students nationwide who believed these violent or violent-prone groups exist could actually range from 41% to 51% (46% + 5%).
It is important to remember that this poll was done just weeks after the shootings at Columbine High School. The issue of school violence was garnering a great deal of media attention which may have heightened student concerns. Thus, these reports about violent groups may be exaggerated. But such heightened concern may not necessarily affect students' reports about anti-gay attitudes at their schools.
Where can I find out more?
The Gallup Organization's chief worldwide contact:
Sarah Van Allen
The Gallup Building
47 Hulfish Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
or visit their website: www.gallup.com