Students at Aberdeen High School will be barricading in place and evacuating classrooms as they practice what to do in the event of a violent intruder today. High School Principal Sherri Northington said in a message to parents last night, “At the end of their drill we will all move the high school gym for a short debrief. Your student’s safety is our priority, and so practice is an important part of ensuring that.”
A letter from District Superintendant Alicia Henderson explains that all schools will be participating in some level of drills this month. The superintendent said in the past, schools across the country have responded with a Lockdown, where students and staff lock their classroom with lights out and hide in a far corner of the classroom, while remaining calm and quiet. We now know that the Lockdown may not be the best response in all cases. For example, whenever possible, it is usually best to evacuate. As a last resort, it may be best to counter the attacker.
Henderson said, “Our principals and teachers will begin to introduce the ALICE strategies to students during drills and practices that will be conducted during this school year. ALICE is a federally endorsed safety protocol.”
The letters ALICE stand for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate:
Alert – Let people know about 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 – Inform others, such as First Responders and calling 911.
Counter – An effort of last resort, if an armed intruder is able to get into the space they are in, individuals can counter with distraction or other tactics. Staff are being trained to use every effort to stop the intruder, instead of relying on the traditional lockdown and hide response.
Evacuate – If it is safe to do so, all are encouraged to evacuate the building, and remove
themselves from the threat.