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Teachers Receive ALICE Training

By Staff | Nov 25, 2015

Photos by Lauren Matthews Teachers participate in a mock scenario. Deputy Shannon Huffman, in the distance, plays the part of the intruder, while teachers act as themselves, and students, who are encouraged to fight back and throw books or other objects at an intruder.

Wetzel County educators will be a bit more prepared for the worst thanks to an ALICE training put on by local law enforcement on Friday, Nov. 20.

Offiers from Wetzel County Sheriff’s Office, Tyler County Sheriff’s Office, New Martinsville Police Department, Sistersville Police Department, and Paden City Police Department were all a part of the training, instructed by WCSO Deputy Donald Bordenkircher, SPD Chief Rob Haught, and TCSO Deputy Shannon Huffman.

The ALICE website, at “http://www.alicetraining.com”>www.alicetraining.com, explains the history of ALICE.

ALICE, which stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate,” was created out of a husband’s desire for his wife to have a better plan in case of an active shooter event. After the Columbine school shooting, Greg Crane was a law enforcement officer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and his wife, Lisa, was an elementary principal. In 2001, upon hearing of a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty, Greg and his wife had a conversation regarding the dangers of law enforcement. Although Greg knew the plan of action, as a law enforcement officer, for school shootings, he inquired about the plans that schools have in place. Lisa explained that the school’s protocol involved placing a “Code Red” over the PA system at the school. This code meant that teachers would get everyone in a classroom, lock the door, turn off the lights, sit in the corner, and wait for police to arrive.

Greg felt that this plan of action made teachers and students, the targets in school shootings, too easy.

Deputy Huffman explains a shooting scenario to teachers during a Nov. 20 training.

Greg and a fellow law enforcement officer made a plan based on strategies that brought them through violent shooting situations. Lisa would tell the officers how the plan would work in the school setting.

The ALICE website describes it best: “Through years of development, modifications, additions, deletions and a lot of input from other ALICE Instructors across the country, ALICE is the first program of its kind that uses options-based, proactive, survival strategies in our country.”

Bordenkircher described the ALICE program as implementing one’s own “common sense” and using a “proactive, instead of passive, approach.”

The “Alert” part of the ALICE method stresses the need of informing as many people as possible that a dangerous situation exists. In a school setting, this can be done in several ways, such as through a PA system, or my vocally expressing the situation.

“Lockdown” is also an important part of the ALICE method. However, Bordenkircher explained, one should plan the next course of action. One should not depend on lockdown alone. After locking the door to the room and turning off the lights, the room should be barricaded. Bordenkircher suggested stacking desks in front of the door.

Time in lockdown should be spent preparing to use other strategies that could come into play if the intruder enters the room.

Bordenkircher described “Inform” as the most important part of ALICE, as real-time information can be used to make single or collective decisions as to the best options. PA announcements, video surveillance and 911 calls are a few options available to pass along information about the situation or where the intruder is located.

The “Counter” part of ALICE is used to distract the intruder. Bordenkircher said by throwing a chair or a book, the intruder could be distracted and his ability to shoot could be reduced.

“Create noise, movement, distance, and distractions,” Bordenkircher explained.

The final step of ALICE involves the need to “Evacuate.”

Bordenkircher explained that only two percent of violent intruder events have been by more than one person.

“If he is inside, you get outside,” Bordenkircher explained. He also suggested that reunification points be established, for students to meet at a place once they are out danger.

Haught noted that previous programs have necessitated the need of accountability of students, such as lining students up and making sure each one is present. Haught discouraged against this method, encouraging students and teachers to take the initiative to get to safety.

“In this environment, we will find the kids. Someone will shelter them,” Haught said.