A.L.I.C.E. Training provided for district teacher workshop
A.L.I.C.E. is a crisis training program that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter and Evacuation. As another form of safety preparedness, the Lewiston Altura School District introduced the program to their staff on Monday, January 19th to offer them insight and response options when encountering an active shooter.
The training sessions started at 7:30 a.m. and continued until noon with the teachers ending the sessions with active involvement of training when they were asked to think about what they would do as the first responder in a crisis situation, and then they were sent into scenarios and setting of the classrooms to pro-actively think about their options. Having this type of information can help save not only your life, but also the lives of others.
The A.L.I.C.E. program was created soon after the Columbine High School shootings occurred in Colorado. The training has since been adopted by school districts throughout the United States. The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has drawn attention to a program that trains teachers and student to fight back against armed madmen by not remaining hidden in the rooms rather taking opportunities to get out safely.
Principals Dave Riebel and Mitch Schlitz presented the program and stated, “Advocates of the A.L.I.C.E. program — it stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate vs say the de-facto “lockdown” procedure implemented at most schools that just doesn’t seem to do enough to protect from school shooters.”
“We believe it is inadequate to teach people to only be very passive and static when a determined killer has decided on them to be his potential victims. We do guarantee that by doing something instead of nothing, you will increase your odds of survival as statistics have shown us.”
Some of the training with staff include learning how to barricade a door with items found in a classroom, how to hold the door in hopes that the shooter would bypass the room. But more importantly to have ways of getting out of the school to safety.”
The A.L.I.C.E. plan has been installed in more than 300 schools across the U.S. since former SWAT officer Greg Cane founded it with is wife in response to 1999’s Columbine school shooting,
The Founder of A.L.I.C.E., was stated as saying locking the door and hiding under a desk turns students into easy targets.
“We need to be ready, we need to be ready to take the correct action that would help us survive,” said Riebel and Schlitz. “No different than training our kids in case of fire to stop, drop and roll, or call 911 or getting to the lower level away from windows during a tornado. We have implemented training for those safety procedures and now we look to this program for another safety practice. Thus helping with reaction if the situation ever occurred. All things that we are trained to do in emergency situations.”
Snippets of a training videos were shown to district staff and staff at the end of the sessions worked on various scenarios. Scattering from trouble, pelting an intruder with books to distract him and texting security officials at the first sign of a threat along with other suggestions to distract the intruder.
The Sandy Hook massacre drove home the importance of planning for emergencies. The incident has created a lot of mixed emotions. But we learn from the past and what we can do differently. Like installing the new cameras at the doors of our school entrances and the fact that visitors have to get buzzed into the building. Safety practices that can make a difference for students and staff.
After running through a few scenarios teachers responded. In the first scenario they went into a lockdown, one that you stay passive and hide. Kindergarten teacher, Bonnie Kalmes responded by saying, “That just didn’t seem right. We took our positions and waited. The waiting seemed like forever and did nothing more than to hide behind our desks. Amanda Indra said, “Frustration just set in. Just siting and not knowing if the intruder would come in. While during that time we felt like we should of been getting out of the room to safety...but that wasn’t in the procedure.”
Police Chief Scott Yeiter said, It was hard for me to just sit and take my position and do nothing else. It was against everything I would be impacted to do.
Jenny Koverman, Special Education teacher said, “I know I would have no doubt gotten myself in a bit of trouble because there would be no way I could sit in a passive mode. My instinct would be to get my students to safety. any way I could.”
In the third scenario they staff was instructed to do what they could do to get out of the school as safely as possible. Those scenarios were talked over and some found themselves in complete chaos. Others put a quick plan into place getting all out with orderly chaos. But out and safe.
Staff responded, “This element of practice will only get better with practice as it does for fire drills and tornado drills and stranger danger practice. Getting students into the same safe pattern of knowing what to do.”
Parents in the district will be receiving this letter about the A.L.I.C.E. program:
Over the past several years there have been numerous incidents of school violence in American schools. As the experts analyze these events, it is apparent that we need to do more, not only taking steps in an attempt to prevent the event from occurring but training of students and staff on procedures that allow us to be safe in our schools.
We currently instruct and practice procedures for fire safety, storm safety and stranger danger. Our goal is to now engrain proactive safety strategies in our students for the event of an intruder in our buildings.
Lewiston – Altura Schools recently adopted the A.L.I.C.E. strategy for response to an intruder in our buildings. A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. A.L.I.C.E. empowers staff and students to make informed safety decisions in the event of a crisis.
On January 19th, the Lewiston – Altura district staff participated in a training that informed them of the updates to district policy, the research behind A.L.I.C.E. and the specific components of A.L.I.C.E. Staff then participated in scenarios to highlight the need for A.L.I.C.E. and to practice our response to crisis situations.
In moving forward with the implementation of A.L.I.C.E., we will first teach and discuss the A.L.I.C.E. plan with our students. This instruction will be followed by practice within the future safety drills at each of the buildings. If you have any questions or concerns about the A.L.I.C.E. program and procedures, please contact Mr. Riebel at the Elementary and Intermediate Schools or Mr. Schiltz at the High School. If you would like more information about A.L.I.C.E., you can visit http://www.alicetraining.com.