University takes new action for safety

University takes new action for safety

University takes new action for safety

Ken Kennedy

We’ve just decided to allow students to destroy school property and even assault people! Yes, as strange as that sounds, students are being empowered to do “whatever it takes” to survive if faced with an active shooter in the classroom. (Of course that is the only time students may be violent or destroy property.)

Since the Columbine High School incident in 1999 the police community has drastically changed the way they respond to violence in the classroom. Officers no longer wait for a SWAT team to arrive, but use the first officers on the scene to contact the shooter and stop his actions. The problem is that even with these different/improved tactics, almost all school shooting incidents are over before the police officers can arrive in the classroom. For that reason the ALICE program was developed.

ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The program was developed by Police Officer Greg Crane after talking to his wife (a school principal) about what students were taught to do during a lockdown. They sit in a corner of a darkened room waiting for the police to rescue them. Is that really the best thing they could do to survive? We can see what that type of passive compliance did for many of the victims at Virginia Tech.

It is human nature to do one of two things when faced with danger: fight or flight. Studies have shown that if a student does either his/her chances for survival increase drastically. Students are almost never terminally injured by a handgun when they are resisting or running away.

Beginning immediately, students in MIDS classes, orientation sessions, etc., will be given some suggestions for being more proactive in dangerous situations. Suggestions will include such things as barricading the door to the room with tables and desks, breaking windows to escape, even the “Swarm Method.”

The swarm method involves throwing things at the attacker’s head, followed immediately by four people grabbing his/her arms and legs to take the person to the ground to disarm him/her. Demonstrations have shown that this method is effective, even down to the fifth-grade level. Imagine how effective it would be in a room filled with adults.

In addition, professors will soon be given an opportunity to attend training sessions highlighting the ALICE program so that they may share the basic response options with their classes. For details about the program or to request a classroom demonstration, please call me at 625-9741.