In order to maintain a safe environment for teaching and learning, it is necessary that we practice our emergency and crisis response plans by having drills designed to exercise our procedures. Sycamore Community Schools utilizes ALICE Training for staff and students to prepare them in the event that an armed intruder enters one of our schools with the intent on doing harm. ALICE is a federally endorsed safety protocol that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.
Alert – inform people of the threat, giving as much information as possible.
Lockdown – Students and staff can choose to lockdown and barricade the room that they are in if they determine that it is not safe to evacuate.
Inform – pass on as much information as possible to others and to First Responders, including calling 911.
Counter – an effort of last resort, if an armed intruder is able to get into space they are in, individuals can counter with distraction or other tactics. Staff is being trained to use every effort to stop the intruder, instead of relying on the traditional lockdown and hide response.
Evacuate – If it is safe to do so, all are encouraged to evacuate the building, and remove themselves from the threat.
During ALICE training, staff and students are trained in different options for responding to a school intruder who is intent on doing harm. In certain circumstances, the “lock the door and hide” strategy might be appropriate. In some cases, staff and students might take precautions to barricade the entrance of the classroom. Under certain conditions, it might be the best decision for the teacher and students to flee the building.
The goal of ALICE training is that the strategies learned will increase the chances that our staff and students might survive if a terrible circumstance of an armed intruder ever were to occur.
FAQs About ALICE Training
Q: Are teachers and staff expected to follow ALICE in order? Are you supposed to Alert, then lockdown, then inform?
A: ALICE is not intended to be a checklist of things to do. It is a list of choices, with accompanying strategies that are options for our staff to help themselves and students stay safe in the highly unlikely event of an armed intruder. Some may choose to evacuate and some may choose to lockdown and barricade. Others may be forced to counter if an armed intruder is able to enter the space they are in. ALICE trains people to know they have choices in an emergency situation.
Q: Why do ALICE Training?
A: Just like practicing what we should do in a fire with our monthly fire drills, we want to be sure that we will know what to do if an armed intruder is in a school. All our schools are equipped with a number of safeguards, some seen and others unseen, to keep our students safe. Sadly, an armed intruder event can happen at any time, any place and for any reason. There is a new standard-of-care which emphasizes the need for proactive, options-based, strategies, which means that we have a responsibility to those in our care and employment to do all we can to prepare them for this rare event, not only in our location but wherever they may find themselves. The federal government recommendations, as well as major law enforcement associations, support these strategies. ALICE Training is the model upon which these official recommendations were built.
Q: What does it mean to “counter”?
A: The main intent of Counter is to distract the intruder, not try to physically take on the intruder. An example of counter would be to throw objects at an intruder for a distraction. Being passive or static has typically not shown to be an effective response in most active shooter events. There are examples within recent events of school violence where the difference between passive and active responses determined survival chances. A different approach is needed to help keep our students and staff safe. Confronting a violent intruder should never be required in any non-law enforcement job description. How each staff member chooses to respond if directly confronted by a violent intruder is up to them.
Q: How will parents be notified if their child’s school is experiencing a crisis?
A: Notification will be sent out using all methods of school district communication, including an email, phone call, mobile app notifications, website alerts, text messages, and social media. Families are encouraged to review their primary contact information in Final Forms to ensure that they are receiving school messages in the manner they desire.
Q: How will we know my child will be safe after the emergency?
A: In the event of a full evacuation, children would be transported to the Blue Ash Recreation Center (4433 Cooper Rd, Blue Ash, OH 45242) where they will be reunited with parents. Parents will be informed through direct communication.
Q: Where can I go for more information about ALICE?
A: For more information about ALICE, visit http://www.alicetraining.com/
Q: Since parents do not participate in safety drills they often find themselves curious about drill procedures. How do you recommend parents learn about how drills are conducted?
A: It is our recommendation that parents engage in age-appropriate conversation with their child or children following all safety drills. Should a parent have a specific question please contact the building principal.
Q: Students readiness for this information varies based on age. How will this be communicated to students in age-appropriate ways?
A: We want our children to be prepared for everything, including if an unsafe person was to enter our school. Administrators, student services staff, and teachers will take the principles and tactics taught in the ALICE training and present the information in non-fearful, empowering ways. We will take into account a children’s developmental readiness to ensure that students feel safe and have opportunities to talk about their feelings and reactions. At this time, there is no plan to have simulated shooters in our buildings while students are learning about ALICE. All learning will be staff-directed and student-centered. Parents are encouraged, if they wish, to contact their principals with specific questions and concerns.