As the Grandview Heights City School District prepares for the start of a new year Wednesday, Aug. 16, district staff are being taught how to protect students in case an active shooter enters a building.
Teachers and other staffers will undergo ALICE training Monday, Aug. 14.
ALICE -- which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate -- offers a more-thorough approach for teachers and staff than the traditional lockdown method, said Grandview Heights police officer Scott Hiles, who will lead the local training session.
The program offers options to deal with an active shooter, he said.
The ALICE Training Institute was developed by former Texas SWAT officer Greg Crane and his wife, Lisa, who was a teacher, following the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. In that incident, two students killed 13 people and wounded 21 others.
"ALICE will give our staff members more autonomy in knowing how to respond in case an intruder enters our school," said Chief Academic Officer Jamie Lusher.
"The plan will no longer be to just lock the door and wait in a corner for police to arrive," she said.
"It will empower our teachers to make decisions about what is the best way to respond to a situation," Superintendent Andy Culp said. "That includes countering an intruder or, if possible, evacuating students through a window or another doorway to safety."
The ALICE acronym is an easy-to-remember framework "through which they will be able to act," he said.
Evacuation is a key component of the ALICE system, Hiles said.
"It's about wanting to get students out of harm's way if possible," he said.
A study by the FBI showed that in 2014, it took an average of five minutes for law enforcement to respond to active-shooting incidents at schools, Hiles said.
There may be an opportunity during that time for teachers to evacuate their students and get them to safety, he said.
Teachers will be trained in each component of ALICE, but that doesn't mean they need to follow it in order, Hiles said.
The purpose of ALICE is to give staff members the ability to think and react to the specific situation they are facing, he said.
"It's not a strictly 'A leads to B leads to C' process," Hiles said. "A teacher may be able to determine that evacuation can occur and do steps D and F before step B."
The countering element of the ALICE training does not involve confrontation, Hiles said. It is a strategy of last resort if a teacher and students are approached by an intruder.
"It's learning how to throw things at them, make noise, have students run around, different tactics to distract the intruder and either give time to allow students to evacuate to safety or to swarm the intruder and take them down."
Teachers will receive training that is appropriate for the grade level of their students, he said.
"The tactic that might be appropriate for a teacher who instructs high school students wouldn't be right for a first-grade teacher," Hiles said.
District administrators already have gone through the ALICE training, Culp said.
All other staff members, including maintenance and office staffers, will participate in the Aug. 14 training session.
"It's important for all of our staff members to know what to do," Culp said, since an intruder could impact any area of a school at any time.
"You may have an intruder in one part of the building and another section doesn't even know anything is happening," he said.
The district has initiated a number of lockdowns over the past couple of years due to bank robberies and other incidents occurring near its schools, Lusher said.
"We wanted to have a more-comprehensive plan to make sure we have a standard practice in place to better protect our students in case something more serious happens," she said.
After incidents such as the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings, traditional lockdown methods no longer are sufficient, Culp said.
"The type of approach presented by ALICE is becoming the national standard for training staff about how to react to an armed intruder," he said.