Preparing, Training, Learning

Preparing, Training, Learning
Posted on 02/20/2018
Image of ALICE VideoSchools and the new reality for communities

"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.

His friendly tone then turns serious.

“What I don’t want you to do is hide in the corner if a bad guy comes in the room,” he says. "You gotta get moving."

This training session — shared online by the ALICE Training Institute, a civilian safety training company — reflects the new normal at American public schools. As armed shooters continue their deadly rampages, and while Washington remains stuck on gun control, a new generation of American students has learned to lock and barricade their classroom doors the same way they learn to drop and roll in case of a fire.

Since Columbine, 32 states have passed laws requiring schools to conduct lockdown drills to keep students safe from intruders. Some states went even further after 20 children died in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. Now, six states require specific "active shooter" drills each year. That means the training must be specifically tailored to respond to an armed gunman out to kill. There is no consensus on what these drills should look like; but several states, including Missouri, require shooting simulations with police officers.

In the 2003-04 school year, when the National Center for Education Statistics began collecting this data, 46.5 percent of all public schools had conducted active shooter drills with students. By 2013-14, a year after Sandy Hook, that figure had climbed to 70.3 percent. In the most recent data, for 2015-16, “lockdown drills” — a broader category that NCES used for that year’s survey — were being conducted in 94.6 percent of schools.

"We are working in schools every day with innocent children who see school as a safe place," said Henderson Lewis Jr., the superintendent of the Orleans Parish School Board in Louisiana. "We must do everything we can to prepare our kids for an unfortunate scenario."

New Orleans schools have been practicing lockdown drills for years, Lewis said, but they need to do much more. He is finalizing a plan to have school safety officers participate in mass shooting drills with police in empty school buildings. Read more and watch the video >>.
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