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The Benefits Teachers See in ALICE Training

With incidents of school violence and shooters seemingly occurring more often every year, complacency in school security should be constantly challenged.

Ellen Gnadt, a teacher in Illinois reveals, “sadly, nothing much has changed since we were in school, and the lockdown procedures are pretty much the same.”

In addition, because Ellen works in a public school, she has limited options to protect her students from an active shooter event except for a large table to barricade the door. “I wish that our school would look into options that people have conceived in the last couple of years, ranging from door stoppers that lock the doors from the inside so that even if the nob is shot off the door will remain shut, or even ladders that hang from the windows so that students can easily and safely leave the building.”

As the landscape evolves to account for increasingly frequent incidents on school grounds, places of worship, and the workplace, so to must our plans for protecting theses spaces. The ALICE Training Institute, which currently serves over 4,200 school districts across the country, provides a new alternative to outdated lockdown procedures. Instead of waiting to be found, ALICE—meaning Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate—stresses actively considering options for escape from danger, including fighting back if necessary.

Teachers who value ALICE training, like Shane O’Brien from Edison High School in Ohio know the importance of being prepared for high stress situations. “I’ve gone through situations where you don’t know what you’re going to do when the situation happens, when the opportunity was there you didn’t know what you were going do, it was more reaction than something we were trained to do.”

“Being prepared to act is empowering at a time when students and staff need all the confidence they can get. Since many, if not all, students are already aware of the danger of school shootings, it makes sense to be straightforward with them,” said Linn-Mar High School physical education teacher, Mike Halac. During lockdown drills, ”the faces of the students are pure fear and panic. When you then follow that ALICE protocol, you see the energy, and kids are ready to have a say in what’s going to happen.”

As school shooters continue to become bolder and smarter, our schools must also begin to think outside the box and actively consider effective options for protecting our children from the worst possible scenario.

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