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The One Percent Doctrine

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Reilly’s excellent post

should be required reading for school administrators

worried about online safety issues. I’ve blogged about this issue before,

notably here

and here.

As Pete states, the actual intersections of online predators with schoolchildren

are exceedingly low.

On a similar note, David Warlick recognizes that middle class parents are afraid to let

their children roam their ‘seemingly safe’ neighborhoods


All of this fear, most of it unfounded (at least statistically), has led many

(most?) parents and administrators to operate from what author Ron Suskind calls

the ‘One

Percent Doctrine

.’ Suskind uses this phrase to describe Vice President Dick

Cheney’s (and others’) thoughts about the war on terrorism:

If there was even a 1 percent chance of terrorists getting a

weapon of mass destruction — and there has been a small probability of such an

occurrence for some time — the United States must now act as if it were a


This seems to capture the beliefs of school administrators, school

communities, and parents pretty well: if there is even a 1 percent chance of

something bad happening online, we need to act as if it were a certainty. Of

course the concurrent question that administrators and parents should be asking

is What do we lose when we operate using the One Percent Doctrine?

I’m afraid that too many schools spend too little time

asking themselves this question

, but I am encouraged that at least some

schools are thinking hard about this issue


Thanks, Dean


, for linking me to Pete’s post!


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