Courtesy of Time
On Friday, Aug. 30, staff members underwent ALICE Training to familiarize themselves with response procedures if a school shooting occurred.
ALICE Training Institute provided the instruction for District 86 staff. Instructions included simulations of a school shooting and tips and techniques to safely and effectively secure and evacuate the room, with the intent of reducing casualties in the event of a shooting.
ALICE stands for “alert, lock-down, inform, counter, evacuate,” and is a security training corporation that has trained more than 1 million individuals on appropriate and possibly life-saving responses to shootings. Hinsdale Central joined the rank of institutions who sought response training in the wake of several mass shootings, one of which occurred on Aug. 31 in Odessa, Texas, in which a gunman killed eight people.
As opposed to the lock-downs of the past where students would hide in a room and remain in it until the all-clear was given, ALICE trained staff members take a more active approach and seek evacuation whenever possible, especially if the shooter is in a different section of the school.
“The strategies we learned were a lot more active than the more passive approach of the past,” said Chris Kostro, English teacher. “It used to be focused on locking-down, huddling in a corner away from the door, and crossing your fingers. Now, they place an emphasis on evacuation.”
Under ALICE Training, staff members and students are allowed to fight back if they are confronted by the shooter, such as by using classroom objects to deter the shooter.
“If you just sit in your classroom and hide, you’re sitting ducks,” said Julie Van Ness, administrative assistant. “They taught us to actively leave or deter the shooter, through barricades or by throwing staplers or books at them if they were to enter the classroom.”
Coinciding with the new procedures taught by ALICE Response Training was the rise of a security presence in the school. This year, more security cameras and security guards were added to monitor students’ safety and well-being. There are currently 159 cameras that function from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
When asked about how they felt about ALICE Training and the increase in security, some staff members said that this could empower them to be more active, and thus reduce the risk of losing lives.
“This is the foundation for, statistically speaking, improving the rate of survivability if a shooting situation were to happen,” said Kevin Simpson, director of security. “This is something that is definitely a step in the right direction.”
Kostro added, “It gives us [staff members] permission to increase chances of survival. It gives us [the] tools to prioritize safety.”
Looking forward, staff members hope to continue to make students feel more safe and secure in school, through improvements in technology and communications.
“This is only one component; all the infrastructure changes and technology that we have begun to implement is only a piece of prevention and responding when an incident occurs,” Simpson said.
If you have any questions on ALICE Response Training, you can visit ALICE’s website, https://www.alicetraining.com/.