‘ALICE’ teaches PHS teachers how to prepare for intruders and other situations

‘ALICE’ teaches PHS teachers how to prepare for intruders and other situations

Lucas Fiscus
eSomethin’ Staff

Students of every grade level are familiar with “lockdown drills.” Mentioning the term brings back memories of dark classrooms and hushed voices. However, in light COVID-19, attacks on the classroom have fallen to the wayside in the minds of many students.

Is Perrysburg prepared in the event of a disaster? What can students do to prevent one?

School resource officer Greg Cole took a two week training course in Columbus held by the Ohio School Resource Officer Association. He went through ‘Raider training’ which he described as “an offshoot of ALICE” that specializes “in one-on-one engagements which would happen in a school.”

The acronym ALICE may sound familiar. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate. While ALICE itself is no longer formally presented in class to students at PHS, it is taught to the staff by Officer Cole.

A presentation Cole made begins with a slide telling teachers that “There is no “one size fits all plan” and that “You are responsible for what you are capable of.”

Cole said, “The difficulty in training teachers, and I’m sure this will come as a surprise to you, is teachers like a formula… With ALICE, you can’t plan for that. So the way I approach ALICE is I give scenarios and then I ask the students, who are teachers, ‘how would you handle this?'”

Cole said in real-life scenarios people’s gut reactions kick in.

His presentation goes through each part of the ALICE acronym and teachers teachers what they should do without giving a formula. Teachers are taught to barricade themselves, contact the police, and “keep moving” if confronted by an attacker. However, these rules have caveats.

For example, Cole teaches staff to contact police and stay on the line while reminding them, “There is no shortage of cell phones at PHS.”

Cole explained, “What they’re finding out, with an examination of the Las Vegas, Nevada [mass shooting], is that people immediately got on their phones, and cell service just collapsed. And first responders rely on cell service, too. So, I know your first instinct is to text mom and dad, but ultimately you gotta wait until you’re safe for that.”

Cell service disruption is emblematic of the ever evolving nature of ALICE training. Trainees have to adapt and overcome.

Cole said, “I had to go through the ALICE training as well […] and one of the worst things that we did was that we practiced the old school lockdown […] It was shut the door, turn off the lights, and everyone line up against the wall and huddle down. And the instructor made entry and he had a NERF gun, one of the ones that shoots the balls and really hurts, and we all got shot in the back. And you could tell, you know this is not a good plan.”

He describes the new style of ALICE training as more dynamic.

“Instead of hiding, it’s more active. The main focus ALICE is pushing now is evacuation. If you can get out, get out.”

If you have any concerns, questions, or even a “bad feeling” about anything, Cole is readily available.

“I try to make myself as accessible as possible, I’m always out […] If you see me in the hall, go ahead and say ‘hey I need to talk to you’ […] any way you feel comfortable […] Ultimately, you are my eyes,” Cole said.

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