The Evansville Community School District (ECSD) is committed to providing the safest possible environment for our students, staff and school visitors. Over the past several years, we have taken critical steps in the matter of securing our schools by locking exterior doors, installing monitored entry systems, and installing security cameras. These important security steps are helpful as we continue to improve school security, but there are other avenues that we have also been exploring. Our District has sent five staff members to an ALICE Active Shooter two day training to help us further prepare and improve our security protocols. This training gives people options if an armed intruder were to enter one of our buildings.
These important security steps are helpful as we continue to improve school security, but what can be done if an armed intruder enters our building? Schools across the country have answered that question with a method we call Lockdown. In the event an unauthorized person enters the school buildings or grounds, a Lockdown alert is given and students and staff are instructed to lock their classroom doors, turn out lights, hide in a far corner of the classroom, and remain calm and quiet. This is the procedure that we have followed for years, but we now know that we must provide students and staff with more options in case they are confronted with an armed intruder.
On Monday, April 17, all ECSD staff participated in a day-long professional development activity where staff learned ways to enhance the lockdown procedures that we, as well as experts across the country, know will increase the chance of survival during an armed intruder incident. The enhancements we plan to implement are often referred to by Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as RUN, HIDE, FIGHT responses to an armed intruder. The formal training that the ECSD will implement for these types of responses is known as ALICE.
What does ALICE mean?
Alert: We will get the word out using clear concise language and describe the location of the event.
Lockdown: This is still a good starting point. We will continue to lockdown students in secure areas. The updated lockdown procedure includes the use of barricading the entrances in an event of lockdown.
Inform: Keeping the staff and students informed continually allows for good decision making.
Counter: Apply skills to barricade, and if necessary, distract, confuse and gain control.
Evacuate: Reduce the number of potential targets for the shooter, and reduce chances of injuries resulting from “friendly fire” when the police arrives.
In NO WAY are we asking our staff or students to make any attempt to subdue an armed intruder outside of their secured area. However, we will provide staff and students with options that if faced with a life or death situation, can be applied to greatly enhance their chances of survival. These options including escaping, barricading the door, and protecting oneself by any means necessary may be utilized should an armed intruder enter the building/room.
Training emphasizes that the best way to survive an armed intruder is to escape. When that is not possible, being mentally prepared and having been given the authority and ability to act will save lives.
Please contact me if you have any questions about the ALICE program.
ECSD District Administrator