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LAUSD Superintendent Closing Schools Wasted 67 Lifetimes

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015
Posted in Advice by Joel Gross

Robert Cortines, the superintendent of the LAUSD schools received a bomb threat and then closed all schools today. 640,000 kids were sent home along with approximately 100,000 teachers and administrators. The threat was “electronic”.. I am guessing emailed from the Tor network or something like that.

Was Robert Cortines decision the correct one?

Let’s look at the facts:

  1. Of the 1,055 actual school bombings in the history of the world only 14 were preceded by a warning. 1% of all real bombings have a warning.
  2. Bomb threats are the most common crime at schools, second only to simple assaults. They are incredibly common.

Now let’s logically assess the situation:

  • Most terrorists never warn of bombings… they want the bombing to go successfully, that’s the whole point
  • This week is finals week in LAUSD, students are highly motivated to call in a bomb threat to get an extra study day
  • 750,000 work days were wasted today from the kids and administrators alone. Probably 300,000 parents will need to stay home from work to watch their kid. Call it 1,000,000 total wasted work days. 1,000,000 work days divided by 300 work days a year = 3,333 wasted years divided by 50 productive years in a lifetime = 67 lifetimes wasted by the decision to shut down the school district today.

Essentially, if school went on as planned and a big bomb went off killing 65 students and teachers, it actually would have been a net positive of 67 lifetimes wasted – 65 lifetimes wasted = 2 lifetimes.

Further, only a tiny fraction of one percent of threats are real. This means that if 1% of these turned out to be real, there would need to be a threat of 6,700 people being killed in a bombing to actually cancel school for an entire district. As this is impossible to happen short of a massive terrorist attack (and those have never been warned ahead of time).

LAUSD superintendent Robert Cortines made a cowardly decision to protect his job: sending kids to school would have been the right decision.  Instead he burned out 67 lifetimes worth of productivity. By making the safe decision, he harmed a million people in a small way; doing it this way protects his job and makes sure he doesn’t get fired. If there was a bombing, he would lose his job probably for not listening to the threat.