Frequently Asked Questions for Parents about ALICE school safety drills
Q: What is ALICE and ALICE training?
A: The School District of New Berlin is working to update its safety plan in the 2015-16 school year. As part of this initiative, a new safety protocol called ALICE will be implemented in the unlikely event of an armed intruder in one of our school buildings. This training encourages staff and students to respond based on their situation, rather than rely on centralized instructions in dynamic times of crisis.
In March of 2015, a group of SDNB Administrators attended a two-day ALICE training session. In June, all building and district administration attended a one hour introduction to ALICE training. In August, principals and district administrators participated in additional ALICE training at Poplar Creek Elementary school. On September 24, as part of our professional learning, school staff participated in training in their buildings. Our principals and teachers will begin to introduce the ALICE strategies to students during drills and practices that will be conducted throughout this school year.
ALICE is a federally endorsed safety protocol. The letters ALICE stand for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate:
- Alert – inform people of the threat, giving as much information as possible.
- Lockdown – Students and Staff can choose to lockdown and barricade the room that they are in if they determine that it is not safe to evacuate.
- Inform – pass on as much information as possible to others and to First Responders, including contacting 911.
- Counter – an effort of last resort, if an armed intruder is able to get into the space that they are in; students are being trained to use every effort to stop the intruder instead of being passive victims.
- Evacuate – If it is safe to do so, all are encouraged to evacuate the building, and remove themselves from the threat.
Learn more about ALICE here: http://goo.gl/jhPDGQ.
Under ALICE training, staff and students are oriented to different options to respond to a school intruder who is intent on doing harm. In certain circumstances, the “lock the door and hide” strategy might be appropriate. In some cases, the teacher and students might take precautions to barricade the entrance(s) of the classroom. Under certain conditions, it might be the best decision for the teacher and students to flee the building. It is the intention of ALICE that the strategies we provide will increase the chances that our staff and students might survive if a terrible circumstance of an armed intruder ever were to occur.
Q: Are people expected to follow ALICE in order? Are you supposed to Alert, then lockdown, then inform?
A: ALICE is not intended to be a checklist of things to do. It is a list of choices, with accompanying strategies, that are options for our students and staff to help them stay safe in the highly unlikely event of an armed intruder. Some may choose to evacuate and some may choose to lockdown and barricade. Others may be forced to counter if an armed intruder is able to enter the space they are in. ALICE trains people to know they have choices in an emergency situation.
Q: I thought our schools were safe and our drills were working well. Why change to these different protocols?
A: We believe that all School District of New Berlin schools are the safest place for our students to be. Just like practicing what we should do in a fire with our monthly fire drills, we want to be sure that we will know what to do if an armed intruder is in a school. All our schools are equipped with a number of safeguards, some seen and others unseen, to keep our students safe. In addition, since we know all too well that violence is all too frequent in our world, the strategies and mental preparation we use within ALICE are transferable to any public venue our students may find themselves in where such tragedies may occur.
Q: Does the “Counter”part of the protocol mean fighting back?
A: The main intent of Counter is to distract the intruder, not try to physically take on the intruder. An example of Counter would be to throw objects at an intruder for a distraction. Passive or static has typically not shown to be an effective response in most Active Shooter events. There are examples within recent events of school violence where the difference of passive and active responses determined survival chances. A different approach is needed to help keep our students and staff safe.
Q: How will parents be notified if their child’s school is in lockdown?
A: Notification will be sent out using all manners of school communication, including an email and phone call from School Messenger, social media, website updates, media alerts, and any other venue that we have at our means. Families are encouraged to review their School Messenger email and phone number information to ensure that they are receiving school messages in the manner they desire by visiting the Parent Portal. A link to the parent portal can be found here: Parent Portal Update Guide
Q: Will the New Berlin Police Department be in schools to help teachers practice scenarios and possibilities for an active shooter situation?
A: The NBPD and SDNB have already trained staff in the A.L.I.C.E Protocol. In August and September 2015 , staff was trained in ALICE. This training included different scenarios and drills that imitated an Active Shooter situation.
Staff will share what they have learned with our students and teach them the ALICE procedures through the course of the year.
Q: How will the information be presented to children at the Elementary and Middle School levels?
A: All drills and training will be age appropriate. The District and the NBPD are working together to be sure that we do not scare or confuse any students while at the same time getting them the information they need if an event occurs. Additionally, at this time, there is no plan to have simulated shooters in our buildings while students are learning about ALICE. All learning will be staff-directed and student-centered. Parents are encouraged, if they wish, to contact their principals with specific questions and concerns.
Q: Where can I go to find out more about ALICE?
A: Here are some links to external information and articles about ALICE. There are many more should you choose to do an independent search.
APPROPRIATE FOR AGE 14 AND UP - VIDEO: Run, Fight, Hide.