Schools beginning to welcome ALICE training

Paulina Gallagher '23, Staff Writer

In the wake of the heartbreaking shooting at Oxford High School on Nov. 30, South and several other high schools around Michigan have begun to ask themselves the question everyone wants an answer to how do we effectively prepare our students and staff for an active shooter event?

For South, the administration has found a potential solution in ALICE training, a program designed to train teachers to execute a step-by-step response that places less emphasis on passive lockdown and more on barricades and evacuation.

ALICE is an acronym that stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate”, and much of the process involves using any heavy objects in the room to block all entryways and find a safe, alternative escape.

Teachers and admin at South would be trained to guide and inform students through an intruder situation using the ALICE steps, and, according to social studies teacher Peter Palen, seem to be eager to have a strict plan and procedure in place should the unthinkable happen.

“I would welcome the opportunity to have ALICE training,” Palen said. “As a staff, we’ve discussed how certain practices that are part of our current policy might need to be re-examined, (and)I’ve heard good things about the training from teachers that have sat for it.”

The warm welcome for the training program seems to be unanimous among teachers, whose biggest concern is the safety of their students when potentially dangerous situations are being discussed.

“I think it would be great for us to have a cement plan that nobody can stray from in place, just in case, teacher Ashley Gerbi said. “With the current protocol, I feel like it would be better if we received ALICE training, we would all be on the same page and know exactly what to do.”
Making sure that the response to an active shooter in the school is organized and efficient is key to ensuring everyone stays out of harm’s way, according to math teacher Amanda Orban.

“I’m all for it,” Orban said. “I think it couldn’t be a better idea to make sure that everyone knows exactly what they need to do, no questions asked.It would give me some peace of mind, knowing my students know they need to execute a plan (to) actively keep themselves safe.”

Not only is the ALICE training program recommended by schools all over the country, but it’s also favored by staff who feel we are due for a change. The plan is designed not only to keep everyone safe should an emergency occur, but to also make sure everyone feels safe in the meantime.