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Sun-Times: Kids Afraid of Being Shot

By Margaret Lyons in News on Aug 5, 2008 4:00PM Sun-Times interviewed hundreds of first-through-eighth graders and found that "half of all fifth- through eighth-graders said their 'greatest fear' was gun- or shooting-related." According to the report, "nearly three-quarters" of fifth-through-eighth graders said they heard gun shots in their neighborhood, and nearly two-thirds of fifth-graders "specifically listed guns or a shooting as their biggest fear."

The students surveyed attend schools in Lawndale, West Town and Woodlawn, and the Sun-Times says the survey "offer[s] a broad snapshot of student experiences from three schools with different levels of exposure to violence."

In the "How we surveyed Chicago students" sidebar, the Sun-Times says kids were asked five questions about guns and gun violence and then asked what they're afraid of. Is it possible that students would have responded differently had the survey not been asking about guns initially? Were any stories at all verified with any sort of police or hospital records? Were students in less violent areas questioned as a control group? While the findings are indeed harrowing, the story would carry more weight were its methodology a little sounder. [S-T]