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Over the past several years our nation has experienced a dramatic increase in violent events involving schools. Community Unit School District 308 has taken many steps in an attempt to prevent any violent event at our schools, including training students and staff on updated safety and lockdown procedures to keep them safe during a threat or attack. This information is meant to keep families updated on our current crisis training and protocol.
Historically, government agencies had recommended a lockdown-only approach that includes students hiding under desks or against walls when an armed intruder invades a school. Today, government agencies, including the US Department of Education, have spent considerable resources researching active shooting events. Their findings have resulted in a change in guidance - a movement away from a lockdown-only approach. ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) protocols are used almost exclusively in all new guidance for schools. The ALICE protocol includes:
Alert: Get the word out! State “Armed Intruder” in the building instead of the use of codes. Use clear, concise language to convey the type and specific location of the event.
Lockdown: Good starting point. We will continue to Lockdown students in secure areas.
Inform: Continuation of the use of clear, concise language to convey the type and specific location of the event. Communication keeps the intruder off balance and allows for good decision-making.
Counter: Apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control.
Evacuate: Reduce the number of potential injuries and get to safety.
District 308 first began training staff in the emergency response protocols of ALICE in 2013. All buildings have trained administrators who are certified as instructors for their school and are responsible for teaching the techniques to staff and students. The ALICE approach empowers our staff and students to make informed decisions to keep them safe. Our training and response is always age- and ability- appropriate, as well as situation specific. We no longer accept traditional lock down- waiting on the floor of a classroom during an armed intruder event- as the only response in our schools. We want staff and students to have the knowledge and training to use more than one component of ALICE, recognizing that the decision of how to respond should be made using their own judgment and capabilities.
ALICE is endorsed by law enforcement across the country and in alignment with recommendations from the following agencies: Department of Homeland Security (DHS); Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); US Department of Education; along with many state agencies across the United States. ALICE is being used by many districts across the state, with more adopting the protocols each year. If you have any additional questions about ALICE or the staff and student training, please contact your school’s administration. We will continue to keep our training and responses to school safety threats relevant and current based on recommendations from the trusted sources listed above, with the singular goal of keeping our students and staff safe in our schools.