The Canal Winchester Times

Police encourage schools to try ALICE

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When it comes to safety, police Sgt. Josh Short wants Groveport schools to follow ALICE.

ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

The Groveport Madison Board of Education was given a synopsis of the proposed safety training program March 29 after delaying action on it March 14 because members wanted more information. No action was taken March 29, either, although the board did receive additional information from Short, a member of the Groveport Police Department.

The program is recommended by the Groveport and Madison Township police departments.

"Our goal is that all the students that go to school go home safely," Dean of Students Richard Playko said.

Short encouraged the board to switch from a "traditional response" for dealing with an intruder in a building to the ALICE program for teachers, staff and students in grades 6-12.

Under a traditional program, students participate in a lockdown, which means a room is secured, lights are turned off, windows are covered and students retreat to a corner in the room until the police rescue them.

"That works as long as the intruder doesn't have time to go and to try to breach other doors or look for more targets," Short said.

He said ALICE and puts in place steps to follow if an intruder manages to get into a school building.

The ALICE system encourages those caught in such a situation to -- when possible -- evacuate to remove themselves as "potential targets." If escape is not possible, people are encouraged to lock themselves in a room, barricade the door and avoid lining up in the room so they don't present themselves as easy targets.

In the event an intruder breaches the door, people are encouraged to resist by throwing things at the intruder to interrupt the physical and mental act at of shooting accurately.

The proposed Groveport training is modeled after a program already in place in the Gahanna Jefferson school district.

"They are going to evacuate anyway," Short said. "If we can do some training to show the proper ways to do that, we're going to get more people out of the building."

Some board members questioned whether ALICE is appropriate for all grade levels.

"I have been at a level 3 at the elementary school and those kids are little and scared, so I just cannot picture what an enhanced lockdown would look like at an elementary building," board Vice President Nancy Gillespie said.

"I hate to say it -- it's a sad reflection on society now -- but they are used to lockdown drills now," Short responded.

Playko told the board the training program could be tailored to the needs of the district and the grade level of the students.

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