Liberty Center Local Schools has adopted a new strategy for lockdown procedures known as the A.L.I.C.E. plan. A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Prior to the A.L.I.C.E. plan, lockdown procedures involved the staff locking their doors, moving students to a part of the room where they could not be seen, and quietly remaining there until an "all clear" announcement was given. The plan offers a different philosophy in light of recent school violence. The philosophy of A.L.I.C.E. is to use technology and information in a way so that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis, remove as many people as possible from the danger zone, and provide realistic training so that those involved in a crisis have a better chance of surviving.
The A.L.I.C.E. plan will be implemented at Liberty Center Schools in phases, with the first drill being executed by the end of the school year. A panel of Liberty Center school principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and other personnel provided input into how these concepts will be communicated to the students. Teachers will provide direction to the students on what action needs to be taken, so it is very important that students listen and follow the directions given, as this drill is not predicable like a fire drill or tornado drill. Before the first drill is performed, the individual classroom teachers will use a common set of guidelines to address this topic and teach their class the A.L.I.C.E. plan.
The first drill performed by the end of the school year will include an ALERT in the form of an announcement from the principal notifying everyone in the building of the location of the "danger zone." Those areas of the building within the "danger zone" will practice LOCKDOWN and discuss alternate exits from the classroom, such as a window, but will not physically exit their classroom this way during the first drill. The principal will continue to INFORM the building of any changes in the "danger zone. Those classrooms not in the "danger zone" will practice the EVACUATE portion of the plan if hallways and exits are safe. Teachers will not know the location of the "danger zone" prior to the drill so that they can practice developing a strategy that provides the safest outcome for their students. Therefore, is it very important for the students to listen to the directions given by their teacher, as the course of action during these drills will not always be the same.
Younger students need constant reminders of safe practices in order for them to make good decisions related to their personal safety. Parents can prepare their child(ren) for the A .L.I.C.E. plan by helping them understand the following objectives at home:
There are people of all ages, color, and types that can be mean and may wish them harm.
Self-confidence comes from trying things that are hard and getting better each time.
There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
When your child is prepared for difficult situations, they can make informed decisions and will have more self-control.
Your child is smart and capable if they have the knowledge.
Help your child identify and assess possible crisis situations.
Have your child demonstrate the ability to get away from someone who has his or her hands on them.
Have your child explain the different safety drills and what they mean.
Help your child name where they need to go in case of evacuation (different for each classroom).
Discuss the importance of following the teacher's directions without hesitation.
Details surrounding the next phase and additional drills will be communicated during the second half of the school year. Information regarding the A.L.I.C.E. plan can be found on the district website. (Please contact the principal at your child's school with any questions or concerns).
Kristi A. Thompson