MANCHESTER – Manchester Local School District will be implementing the ALICE training program to upgrade its outdated protocol when dealing with an active shooter situation.
Superintendent Brian Rau held a community safety meeting on Wednesday to inform parents about the new system that will be implemented at the schools. The ALICE program is meant to give more options to individuals faced with an active shooter situation.
ALICE is an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evade/Escape.
“You can’t guarantee anything,” said Rau. “But you can minimalize.”
Brown County Support Services Coordinator Don Rabold led the seminar about the new program and why it was important to put it into action.
“Shooters aren’t often a problem,” said Rabold. “But neither are fires and here we are still doing six fire drills per year. This is to prepare the staff and students to be equipped for the situation and increase their chances of survival.”
Focus was put on the information aspect of ALICE during the meeting.
“We are working on keeping people informed now,” said Rabold. “And when a shooter situation arises, we will keep everyone informed then. Emergency services, teachers, students, parents and anyone else that needs the information will be the first ones to know.”
Some attendees questioned why this was needed if the school had a resource officer who was armed.
“Having a school resource officer is important and can help the situation,” said Rabold. “But the stay and students play a big part in this as well. The resource officer cannot be everywhere at once. This is to prepare everyone as much as possible.”
The ALICE program places emphasis on escaping being the end goal if possible and if it is safe. Although emergency services will be alerted and on their way, there is a portion of time that the staff and students will have to fend for themselves.
“They are the first responders,” said Rabold. “The staff has and will receive training to ensure the safety of as many individuals as possible. We have gone too long with only giving them one choice. Simply locking the school down and hiding doesn’t always work.”
Rally points will be established near the school area to escape to. Emergency services will arrive and secure the area and individuals found there. If you are unable to make it to a rally point but had to get out of the school, it is advised to run and not drive. If a high school student attempts to drive away, they may get mixed up with the police and focus could be taken away from the shooter.
“They should use their best judgment,” said Rabold. “Whatever increases your chance of survival is likely the best option. This program prepares them for having those options and when to use them. If they can escape, they should. If they can’t, they should listen to the staff or make a judgment call and act accordingly.”
Some parents requested that their children be allowed to run home in the event of an active shooter.
“I would rather the Police Department not know where a kid is,” said Rabold. “Instead of knowing the kid is dead and you can see the body when the coroner is done with it. But what happens if a kid is hit by a car? What if they run out into a cornfield in the middle of February and end up freezing to death. The rally points are the safest place for the kids to go.”
One concerned parent asked what would happen if a rally point was compromised and what protocol was then.
“If a rally point is compromised, the shooter is likely targeting a specific person,” said Rau.
“These areas will be secure once Public Safety and other emergency services arrive,” said Rabold. “If they have not arrived and that happens? Run. Do whatever it takes to survive.”
MLSD has already given their staff part of the training and plans to begin informing the students on the new system in the next two weeks.
More information can be found at www.mlsd.us or by calling 937-546-4777.