Following recent events in Parkland, Florida, administrators have started locking all but two entrances to the building to increase security on campus. While new safety measures are being put in place, other safety protocols have been in motion since the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This includes the new procedure called ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. This program was founded in 2000 by Greg Crane, a Dallas Fort-Worth Police officer, and his wife Lisa, an elementary principal. The purpose was to help schools around the country strategize and embrace their “fight or flight” instincts during an active shooter event.
According to the ALICE Training Institute, this program has been accepted by 4,200 schools across the nation. Part of that is because the updated protocol addresses lockdown situations in a way that contradicts what students have been taught for decades, which was to lock the doors and hide. The new safety measures encourage them to be proactive in an active shooter situation. Statistics from an FBI report from 2014 showed that 60-percent of shootings end before the police arrive, which leads administrators to believe that students and staff have to be their own first line of defense such scenarios.
Under ALICE, students and staff are first taught to recognize the sound of a gunshot and begin procedure, even if they are unsure about the reality of the situation. If they are distanced far enough from the threat, they are encouraged to flee to a safer location. In the case that they are too close to the intruder to escape, the teacher is to lock the door as before, but the students are then told to barricade the entrance, decreasing the chances of a gunman entering the classroom. If the intruder is able to enter the room, the last step of the new protocol is to counter. Countering, as it should be noted, does not mean to fight back. During this stage of procedure, students and teachers should attempt to distract the gunman, make noises, throw anything in sight, and move constantly. The goal is to physically and mentally overwhelm the threat. Still, ALICE only offers a partial solution to a much bigger problem.
“It’s a good plan,” said senior Alex Barrientos, who believes that ALICE is still in the making. “I think that if we practice on it we’ll be a lot better if we have to use it”
“The main thing is we’ve got to have kids communicating with us if they know something,” said Principal Dee Palmore.