Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's time for theatre

I mocked Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty's plan to spend millions on setting up security cameras and other utterly useless but theatrically appropriate safety measures in our schools.  Unfortunately I forgot that he isn't the only one reacting foolishly to unlikely events in other countries.  At the parents council meeting last night we discussed the concerns of random parents in the school that they should be notified in the case of a lockdown or other incident at the school.  There is a discussion going on about getting more email information to alleviate their concerns.

This makes me insane.  What are those parents going to do if and when we do notify them about a lockdown at the school?  Rush to the school, presumably, whereupon they will be refused entrance and they can stand around looking foolish in an area that has been deemed dangerous.  Either that or they can sit in their cubicles and worry which doesn't seem especially useful either.  Getting more people to read the school newsletter and notices about events and such seems great but abetting irrational parental panic over school shootings is pointless.

I find it hilarious that we are talking about being even more careful about locking the doors and refusing people entrance when the doors are all made of one giant sheet of glass.  We sure aren't going to stop anybody from getting in but by gosh we sure can scare the kids and inconvenience everyone.  This is particularly hilarious when you look outside at lunch or recess and see four hundred kids packed into a tiny playground that they can't escape from because all the doors surrounding it are locked.  This is all being encouraged by otherwise uninvolved parents who know nothing about actual dangers but need to know that something random and stupid is being attempted so we can all feel better that we 'did something'.

According to Canadian government stats our chance of being murdered by someone we don't know over our entire lives is about as high as our chance of dying in a normal year of commuting by car.  A year of a kid's life is about as likely to result in a stranger killing as a few hours in the car on a road trip.  We think nothing of packing the little ones into the car to drive up to the cottage and yet we panic that they will die at school from a random murderous nutjob even though the car trip is drastically more dangerous.

It is time for our government and our schools in particular to stop pandering to this reactionary foolishness and to say NO to meddling by politicians or random citizens in affairs they clearly do not understand.  You want to spend millions on child safety?  Great!  Go build something to provide clean drinking water in a third world nation; nobody needs that money spend on useless security theatre.

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