Journal of Undergraduate Research


race differences, school safety, Hispanics, Whites


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Scholars are interested in how parents think about schools. Yet so far they give only limited attention to the role that race plays in shaping parents’ views. Our research addresses this shortcoming by focusing on two race groups – whites and Hispanics – in order to determine how they think about one specific aspect of school: safety. According to Census data, whites and Hispanics are the two largest racial/ethnic groups in the United States. As such, they have become populations of interest for many researchers. The limited attention that has been given to race has been mostly quantitative in nature. During the past few decades several quantitative studies identify preferences of school safety. Many of these studies show the differences and similarities between whites and Latinos. Kleitz and colleagues (2000)1, for example, studied differences in how whites, Hispanics, and blacks view the importance of safety for their elementary-aged children. They asked parents to rank the importance of class size, safety, location and friends in choosing a school for their children. 80.4% percent of Hispanics ranked safety as important or very important whereas only 62.8% of whites did the same. This shows a variation in the two groups’ selection processes. Unfortunately there are limits Kleitz study. While it helps us understand differences in how whites and Hispanics regard safety, it leaves some questions unanswered. Such as: How do white and Hispanic parents define as safety? Do they feel that their child is enrolled in a safe school now? How frequently do they enroll them in a school that meets their desired safety criteria? What factors or influences do they believe would make a school unsafe?

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