ABC News states that fifty school shootings have taken place since the Columbine shooting in 1999.
School systems take shootings very seriously. A new procedure called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) is a plan of action that tries to keep students safer than they previously were under the old system of lockdown drills.
“ALICE is thinking about the situation and what you can do and what you feel comfortable doing if put in that situation,” Assistant Principal Chris Hunsaker said.
ALICE training for teachers started this school year. Later in the year students will be learning about the revamped crisis drills from teachers and be seeing them in action during intruder drills.
“We will have one intruder drill every quarter, I don’t know a specific date,” Hunsaker said.
The way schools and law enforcement respond to shootings
have changed dramatically since Columbine.
When the old lockdown system was designed to protect students from drive by shootings, gang violence, or random shootings outside the building.
“Even police officers were taught it would be a hostage situation. And most school shootings are no longer hostage situations,” Hunsaker said.
The first step of the new procedure would be to try to get the student body safely out of the building.
“If you knew you needed to get out of the building and you could get to it safely then you’re going to run,” Hunsaker said.
The next step, if it isn’t safe to get out of the building, is to block the intruder from getting into the room.
“If you knew that the person was right outside your door you’re going to barricade it and make it as
hard as possible for them to get in,” Hunsaker said.
And if neither of those options can be put into action and the intruder is already in the room, students and teachers are asked to contain the threat.
“If you knew that person was coming in the door, you’re going to do everything in your power to prevent the situation from getting any worse than it already is,” Hunsaker said. “You’re going to make things as difficult as possible for them to do the act that they’re wanting to do.”
Many teachers have strong opinions on the new procedures.
“I was skeptical. I’d heard through word of mouth a lot of different things about ALICE training, but I hadn’t received any of the training yet,” Hostetler said.
ALICE gives teachers and students a plan to rely on if an event like a school shooting was ever to take place.
“You cannot plan for a tragic event like a school shooting. They’re not all the same, they’re not carried out in the same way. So you really can’t be prepared for that, but what you can be prepared for is what to do in the moment,” he added.
School shootings are unique situations and should be treated as such.
“You don’t know until that day comes if they’re going to be in your classroom or the hallway outside of the classroom or the other end of the school,” Hostetler said.
ALICE could help teachers and students react in a high-stress situation outside of the school environment.
“It’s good thought process to have no matter where you go. Whether it be a movie theatre or some other public place,” Hunsaker said.
This will be new to a lot of students, but in the end, it could save lives and prepare them for situations later that may occur further down the road.
Trying to take out the intruder is the last step in ALICE, and it can save lives.
“The resource officer talked to us about training that he had been to. He talked about what happens if you just stay in your room versus if you just try to get out and what happens if you fight against a shooter coming into your room,” Hostetler said.
All the information about ALICE, such as a full history and tips on implementation is available at www.alicetraining.com.
“If we are running this efficiently, within seconds of a shot being fired people are getting out of the building or they’re blocking the room so an intruder cannot get into the room. That person is going to be left with empty halls and rooms they can’t get into,” Hostetler said.
ALICE is nothing for students, parents, or staff members to worry about. If a tragic event like a shooting was to ever happen, having a set procedure like ALICE is more likely to keep people safe.
“I think the training and their ideals are good, but the situation is something that I hate,” Hostetler said.