Intruder training should expand beyond the school walls

Star Herald Editorial

When Minnesota’s public schools open their doors for the 2017-18 school year in September, some students will learn more than just reading, writing and arithmetic.

Students at Luverne Public Schools will learn skills that may be life-saving.

Beginning this year, Luverne students and staff will be exposed to lessons about what do to if a violent intruder enters their building.

While this training could be viewed as a waste of time and energy in our sleepy little prairie town, we live in a mobile society.

We think learning defensive measures is well worth the time. Much like learning CPR and other first-aid skills, ­ you never know where and when you might need them.

Last year district administrators introduced the proactive ALICE program to staff. Training inside the classroom begins this year through the use of community instructors who completed the ALICE Training Institute’s curriculum.

The ALICE plan more effectively teaches individuals and groups to proactively react to the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.

Unfortunately today’s society has propelled quiet communities such as Luverne to instruct children on what to do if faced with an act of terror.

These man-made acts could occur anywhere and at any time.

Founder Greg Crane developed the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate format 15 years ago in response to the lessons learned after the 1999 Columbine, Colorado, school shootings.

ALICE instruction goes against the traditional approach response used at the Columbine High School.

The traditional approach was to become passive by hiding under a table or remain static by building a barricade inside a room and waiting for law enforcement.

ALICE empowers everyone in a building to save themselves and others. ALICE uses noise, movement, distance and distractions to lessen a shooter’s accuracy. The program also teaches a swarm technique as a last resort to gain control over the intruder.

In the classroom instruction, students will learn age- and ability-appropriate defensive techniques.

Much like fire drills, the ALICE training is practiced with the understanding it may not be used, but kids will know what to do if the situation presents itself.

We as a community could also learn these techniques by contacting our local law enforcement officials.

In other communities, man-made disasters have happened not only in schools but also in movie theaters, work places, churches and homes.

ALICE could empower all of us to protect each other and gain control of a situation in the time it takes law enforcement to arrive and take over the situation.

We could all benefit from ALICE.

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