Shortly after New Albany-Plain Local students return from spring break, they will learn how to protect themselves if a person with a gun enters a school building.
Marilyn Troyer, the district's chief of innovation, improvement and human capital, said New Albany police officers Kevin Deckop and Kris Daniels, who trained the staff and administrators in the past three months, will train middle and high school students April 8.
Daniels told the New Albany-Plain Local school board March 18 that law-enforcement agencies now believe the best response for students and teachers may be to leave the building if a shooter enters.
"Our kids are staying in the crisis zone too long," Daniels said.
Previous training recommended teachers lock classroom doors and keep students inside.
Daniels said it can take two to eight minutes for law enforcement officials to arrive on the scene and more time to eliminate the threat.
Instead of keeping students inside the building, he said, teachers should evacuate students who are not close to the shooter. Teachers who are closer to the threat should lock their doors and barricade the doors with desks, chairs and other heavy objects to prevent the shooter from entering the room.
Computers, chairs and books could be thrown in a "counterattack" or as a distraction if a shooter does enter the room, Daniels said.
The training is known by the acronym ALICE, which stands for "alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate."
Daniels said if a person with a gun enters a building, the district's first response would be to inform the entire campus on the public address system the nature and location of the threat.
School board Vice President Michael Klein asked where students would be evacuated and how teachers would keep track of each student.
Daniels said the district would have designated meeting points on campus. He said even a student who gets lost for an hour outside would be better off outside than inside a building with an active shooter.
Troyer said most teachers and administrators have taken the ALICE training. Those who have not will be trained later this year.
Troyer said the district will train volunteers and new hires, as well, to ensure all personnel are familiar with its policies.
Troyer said once all the training is complete and parents are notified, the district plans to begin drills in May or early next school year.
She said drills are important because in a crisis, people remember what they have practiced.