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Letter: Fear-Mongering at Lebanon School

To the Editor:

As a mother of four, with one son at Mount Lebanon School, I object to that school’s planned “lockdown drill” in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy as needless fear-mongering that little children shouldn’t be exposed to.

Twenty-six people died in school mass shootings in 2012. That’s 26 deaths out of 313 million people in the United States, or about 0.0008 deaths per 10,000 people. You are about as likely to die from being struck by lightning or being trapped in a grain silo. The chance of any child dying of childhood cancer in a given year is 1 in 10,000 — 200 times more likely than anyone being killed in a mass shooting.

My child is put more at risk by things the school does every day than he is by a school shooter. Of the approximately 24 million students transported to school by bus, about 30 die annually getting on or off the bus or waiting at a bus stop — a death rate 16 times higher than that of school shootings.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school years. This means that my child is 1 million times more likely to be sexually abused by his teacher than to be shot in school. Yet I have heard nothing from Mount Lebanon School regarding any potential “drills” to stop educator sexual abuse of students.

Why, then, focus on the remote possibility of a school shooting with a lockdown drill?

Some haven’t realized how unlikely a school shooting is. Others, however, are more focused on raising alarm about guns, no matter how remote the threat. This amounts to playing politics with our children and is beyond the proper scope of public schools. It is also bad for our children. Children go to school looking forward to learning and growing, not to playing a forced role in a politically motivated Kabuki theater of a “lockdown.” That is why I will keep my child out of school when this farce is going on.

Hilary F. Ryder

West Lebanon