Concealed Carry & Home Defense

Training Teachers And Students To Fight Active Shooters

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Barbara Baird Contributor
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By Barbara Baird/Carrie Lightfoot Podcast

With schools opening their doors to incoming students, it’s the perfect time to check out not only school-supply lists, but also your school’s security policies – especially when it comes to an active shooter event or terrorist attack.

Barbara Baird and co-host Carrie Lightfoot discussed the #1 active shooter civilian response training program, ALICE Training Initiative, on a recent “Women’s Gun Show” podcast, sponsored by Ruger.

Baird interviewed Dan Huffman, executive director of business services of the Centennial School District #12, located in the northwest metro area of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. His duties include a responsibility for building security and student safety.

Huffman explained how local first responders approached the school district last year, and asked it to consider the ALICE style of training. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. As you may suspect, this type of training contradicts the old-style pull-the-shades, lock the door, turn off the lights and hide-under-desks method.

“It’s a program that is designed to allow us as human beings to react in ways that are more natural to how we’re wired,” said Huffman. “We’re not wired to cower under a desk and wait for something bad to happen. We’re wired for fight or flight. That’s the premise behind ALICE.”

For example, under the old way of responding to a school shooting, teachers were trained that upon hearing a code word for a “shooter in the building,” they were to lock their doors, turn out the lights and hide.

If there is an active shooter in the school building, here’s what the Centennial District #12 will do, according to Huffman: “We come on the intercom and we give as much information as we can possibly give about the exact location and movement of the shooter, and we continue to provide updates through the events. Our challenge is to survive that first 4 to 6 minutes that it takes for our first responders to get to us.”

In the meantime, areas of the school not under attack will immediately evacuate the building, meeting in rally points. Meanwhile, school buses will be enroute to those points and can be on the location in 7 to 9 minutes to whisk students to a safe area at a large local church, the school district’s reunification point.

If there is a shooter in a certain area, those faculty and staff have been trained to keep the lights on (so first responders can see inside the rooms), lock the doors, barricade the doors and get prepared to fight – to throw items and distract a shooter. “We’re doing what they’re [the shooter is] not prepared for us to do,” explained Huffman.

The school district holds monthly meetings with its first responders – including police and fire departments. The school faculty and staff, along with first responders, have been trained in the ALICE training.

Other ALICE training pieces include the following responses:

  • Practice evacuation to rally points
  • Hold unannounced lock-down drills, providing the same information as if it were a live situation where the school must practice either the lock-down procedures or evacuation

More than ALICE

“ALICE, for us, is one part of our emergency response,” said Huffman.

Other pieces include the following:

  • New Web-based video surveillance systems in all buildings.
  • First responders have access to all cameras, in squad car laptops.
  • School district will take control of situation until first responders appear.
  • New card systems access electronic lock-down of all doors in school.
  • Web based app, Crisis Goal, where school administrators can manage all emergency responses electronically on smartphones. It also lists class lists, with information on each student immediately available.

“We went from a very passive approach to a very pro-active response,” said Huffman. “We rolled this out to our parents at back-to-school nights. They love it. … Our faculty loves it.” The school district has tailored the program and explanation of it to children’s ages, as well.

“We’ve been doing an injustice to kids for a very long time by practicing this passive response. This is something we should have been doing a long time ago,” said Huffman. “We’ve finally getting it right.”

Listen and subscribe to the podcast titled “ALICE Goes to School,” on “The Women’s Gun Show.” Find it on Stitcher and on iTunes.

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Learn more about ALICE: – Click here to follow

Barbara Baird