Jefferson City Public Schools- Jefferson City, MO

School officials have a different mindset about school shootings: It’s not a matter of “if;” it’s a matter of “when.” Many schools nationwide, including Helias, are using a program called ALICE Training Institute. It stands for alert, lock down, inform, counter and evacuate. Schools can’t plan specific procedures because every shooting is different, said Helias Principal Kenya Fuemmeler. Depending where the shooter is, students and teachers have to decide if they should bunker down in their classroom, run to a secured area or evacuate the school. Students who stay in classrooms are told to barricade the door with desks and chairs, making it difficult for an active shooter to enter. If the shooter does manage to get past all the obstacles, students are told to fight back in any way they can. Helias recently had an active shooter drill and a teacher discussion about what went well and what could be improved, Fuemmeler said. “We had a candid conversation that only police will open their locked (classroom) doors because there’s a chance all the administrators won’t be alive,” she said. “If we can address that early, then we’ll be more prepared.” The JCPS district is planning to use the ALICE training in January after the school’s full-time safety and security officer officially starts, Weber said. Weber said the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires all districts to have a safety and security officer. He’s been the acting official in that role, but the district thought it was important to hire someone with a background in safety. Kurt Mueller is retiring from the Highway Patrol after 30 years of service to join the district. One of his first tasks will be to start the ALICE trainings in every building, Weber said. Jones said Blair Oaks doesn’t specifically use the ALICE training program, but the procedures are very similar. Read more