Leominster Public Schools- Leominster, MA

A new emergency-response program that will be used throughout the Leominster Public Schools was discussed at Monday night’s School Committee meeting. ALICE, or Alert Lockdown Inform Counter and/or Evacuate, was presented by Andres Vera, principal of Frances Drake Elementary School, where the program is already being implemented.Where ALICE differs from currently implemented emergency procedures are in its more active responses to crises. Finding a way to keep all students, faculty and staff informed on what is happening during an emergency, as well as the need to develop evacuation procedures and last-resort countermeasures, were stressed by Vera as areas the school district needs to explore. “We’ve had really good responses in the public forums that have been held at Frances Drake,” Superintendent of Schools Jim Jolicoeur said. “Once we’re done with that, we can start implementing it in other schools.” Some concerns were expressed by School Committee member over whether some of the ALICE program’s subject matter would be too intense for some young students. Vera assured everyone that the informational literature distributed to students of lower grade levels is geared specifically toward young children.”Growing up, we participated in all sorts of drills, and we weren’t traumatized by it,” committee member Eileen Griffin said. Once put in place, ALICE drills would continually be held throughout the year in the same way schools hold fire drills. Read more