WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT A.L.I.C.E.

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Allison Edwards, Staff Writer

Feeling safe in a school environment is something that most students wish to feel, but unfortunately, not every student or school has that luxury. School shootings are unexpected and more frequent. For Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, it was a frightening experience. September 6 was just like any other day at school for the Timberview students and teachers. Suddenly, around 9:15 a.m. a teenage gunman came into the school and opened fire. “Three people were taken to the hospital, two with gunshot wounds,” which included a “15-year old male in critical condition, a 25-year old male in good condition and a teenage girl in good condition who will be discharged soon,” according to Shaun Rabb, who works with Fox4 news. “The U.S. has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. 18% of school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012”(Sandy Hook Promise). Schools are taking many  procedures to prevent school shootings including ALICE, a safety protocol many schools around the U.S. are using. 

Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, also known as ALICE,  is a program that gives individuals the opportunity to participate in their survival using a variety of strategies. 

Alert: the first notification of a threat or danger. You will be able to recognize signs of danger. Lockdown: barricade entries if you are not able to evacuate. Inform: contact your parents, the police, and others by communicating the shooter’s location using clear and direct language. Counter: to make as much noise and movement as possible as a last resort to stop the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. Evacuate: when it is safe, run from the danger and go to your school’s safety point or anywhere out of danger.

Connersville High School also uses ALICE as a safety measure. Trent Liggett, Athletic Director and ALICE trainer at CHS says that “ALICE is very effective because it gives ownership, to not necessarily the administration, but the teachers and the kids.” Liggett also says ALICE allows “kids to have a say so in relation to a threat assessment if a threat is far away from them. They have the ability to get out of the building; the ability it takes to remain safe.” CHS has been implementing the ALICE protocol for two years; it was recommended by the administrative team at the Central Office. ALICE was originally developed by a Colorado Police officer who was responding to a liquor store shooting. He asked his wife, who was a teacher, what the school’s shooter protocol was and she said that they locked the doors, turned off the lights, and hid quietly. This method did not offer students, or teachers, the ability to take action into their own hands; they were essentially just waiting for something to happen. ALICE was created to give students and faculty the chance to be proactive about the situation at hand. The safety of the students in a school is a top priority and ALICE is one way the students and staff are protected.