The One Percent Doctrine
Reilly’s excellent post should be required reading for school administrators
worried about online safety issues. I’ve blogged about this issue before,
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
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.
Shareski, for linking me to Pete’s post!