Over the past several years, we have seen a dramatic increase in school violence and school shootings. As the experts analyze these horrific events it is apparent that we need to do more, not only taking steps in an attempt to prevent the event from occurring but training students and staff on procedures that we all need to survive an active shooter in our schools.
If you look at what has occurred throughout the country it is evident that if an armed intruder wants to get into any building, they probably will succeed. The fact is, even though the Northeast Community School District is taking steps in the matter of securing our school buildings, the possibility of an intruder entering is still there.
In the past, schools across the country have addressed this possibility with a method called “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, turn out the lights and hide in a far corner of the room, while remaining calm and quiet.
History has shown while Lockdown can be an effective tool in some cases, it is not the only useful tool. This is supported by the number of students that have been killed or seriously wounded during school shootings while hiding under a desk or huddled up in a corner of a classroom. We cannot expect an armed person entering our school buildings, with the intent to harm our children, to simply leave when they find the classroom door is locked. Knowing what we know about active shooters in school buildings and other public places, we want to give our students and staff a greater chance of surviving an active shooter by providing more options.
Northeast Community School District has adopted a new policy and procedure that we, as well as the experts across the country, believe will increase the chance of survival during an active shooter incident. This new procedure will teach our staff and students additional response options by utilizing the A.L.I.C.E. approach.
Alert Get the word out! Use clear, concise language to convey the type and location of the event.
Lockdown We will continue to lock down students when it is the best option.
Inform Communication allows for good decision-making.
Counter Apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control.
Evacuate Get out! Put distance between you and the intruder.
In short, when faced with an armed intruder invading our secure area, we will use the A.L.I.C.E. approach to:
- Listen carefully to the location and type of event.
- Get to and/or remain in a secure area until it is safe to evacuate.
- Apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control should an armed intruder enter the area.
- Evacuate as soon as it is safe.
In No Way are we asking or teaching our students to make any attempt to subdue an armed intruder outside of their secure area. However, we will provide them with options that can be applied if faced with a life or death situation to enhance their chances for survival. Some of the methods that will be taught, in the event they are confronted by an armed intruder are:
- Cause distractions to interfere with the ability to shoot accurately.
- Cause as much chaos in the room as possible to create sensory overload.
- Do not be a stationary target.
- How to control the attacker using body weight.
- Where to go once you have escaped, i.e. identified reunification point.
Training will emphasize that the best way to survive an active shooter is to escape. When that is not possible, being mentally prepared and having been given the authority and ability to act will save lives.
As noted above, there are designated reunification points for parents to meet up with students. In the event of an evacuation we are asking parents to meet their students at the reunification point rather than attempting to go to the targeted school. This is to prevent obstructing any emergency personnel from getting into and out of the targeted area. The following are the designated reunifications points:
Northeast Elementary: Goose Lake City Hall / Community Center
Northeast Middle/High School: Swanton Ag Service
Northeast Alternative School: Goose Lake C-Store
If you would like more information about A.L.I.C.E. you may visit www.responseoptions.com or call one of our A.L.I.C.E. team members at (563) 577-2249.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in keeping our students safe.
Neil Gray, Superintendent Jennifer Huling, High School Principal
Mike Adair, Elementary Teacher Matt Kepple, High School Teacher
Bryce Bielenberg, Elementary Counselor Anna Lorenzen, Administrative Assistant