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Examiner
  • School safety? Do some math first

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  • To the editor:
    I live in Blue Springs, primarily because I believe in the community and the school district. I work in Olathe, and the sacrifice my family has made for the last eight years should be enough to show I am not against the district. I just want to be a voice of reason.
    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the second-leading cause of death in people aged 5 to 18 is homicide. That is terrible. One to two percent of the deaths happen at school, on the way to or from school or at school-sponsored events.
    Information Please shows there to be 41 cases of this sort of violence in K-12 schools from 1996 to 2012. There were 98,817 public and 33,366 private K-12 schools in 2009-10. Putting those numbers in perspective, I believe $20 million or even $14 million is simply too big a price.
    From the 132,183 schools going to school 180 days per year, you get 23,792,940 days per year of children going to school. In 17 years there were 41 incidents. Just for simplicity, let’s assume those incidents happened in the same year. So 41/23,792,940 = a .000017232 percent chance of an incident somewhere in the U.S. on any given day. Your chance of being struck by lightning is one in 700,000. How many think we should spend $20 million to protect our children from lightning strikes?
    I know the school board and the district mean well, and it is difficult to argue against protecting our children. The Blue Springs School District is a wonderful steward of our community’s funds. I truly believe we would be better served spending the money on an educator with expertise in preventing school violence. I know bonds can’t be spent on people, but the budget does go to pay down the debt. The interest on it alone would be $60,000 the first year. That would be close to paying for the position.
    We sometimes need to step back and look at the real cost and benefits and make an educated opinion, not one with our hearts.
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