Support for School Safety
The ALICE Training Institute has reached out to support the Chambers County School district in Alabama by offering to provide violent intruder response training at no charge. This is the school district who has garnered national media attention when they sent a letter to parents regarding arming students with a canned food item to enhance safety.
Although ALICE was not mentioned in the parents’ letter, several news outlets have referenced our company as providing the training. We are always available to the news media to confirm any details related to this story including:
- ALICE has NOT conducted training on behalf of the district.
- ALICE has NEVER been asked to conduct training on behalf of the district.
- Auburn University has NOT conducted training at the district.
More importantly than setting the record straight, we feel compelled to put a positive spin on this story. The following letter outlines our offer of training service to Chambers County School district.
Letter to Chambers County School District
January 16, 2015
Dr. Kelli Hodge, Superintendent
Chambers County Schools
1298 Vocational Drive
LaFayette, AL 36862
REFERENCE: CHAMBERS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT – OFFER OF TRAINING ASSISTANCE
We’ve taken interest in Chambers County School district’s desire to implement a violent intruder response program including a parent’s letter authored by W.F. Burns Middle School administrators that was sent to us by the news media. We are supportive of any school district that is committed to school safety and would like to offer our assistance in providing proper violent intruder training. This includes our ALICE program which is used in over 1,700 school districts nationwide.
Today, many federal and state agencies, the state of Alabama, and law enforcement associations provide written recommendations on violent intruder response. ALICE aligns with these recommendations including the use of enhanced lockdown, evacuation and counter techniques. Most importantly, counter techniques (noise, movement, distraction) should only be used as a last resort with the intent to reduce the intruder’s ability to shoot accurately and provide precious seconds to evacuate from the danger.
Our offer of assistance includes, at no charge:
1. Parent Night/Q&A Presentation. To be conducted by ALICE president and founder, Greg Crane and Lisa Crane (co-founder) who is a former school principal.
2. Onsite Training. Onsite rollout and initial training for district staff.
3. E-Learning Subscriptions for up to 250 District Employees. Final step in staff training. Allows for consistent and timely implementation with the ease of an online learning environment.
4. ALICE Children’s’ Books (15 copies) written by nationally acclaimed children’s author, Julia Cook. Classroom aids for implementing ALICE with elementary students.
If you are interested in our offer of services, please contact Victoria Shaw at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-661-0106 ex. 1010 to coordinate efforts.
The Purpose of Counter Strategies
The purpose of Counter strategies is to prevent the shooter from shooting accurately and to buy more time for the innocent people to react in other ways, such as evacuation.
Federal and State Support for Proactive Strategies
ATI pioneered these strategies well over a decade ago. These strategies are now supported by many prestigious organizations. Here are some examples:
• US Department of ED, REMS Division, Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operation Plans, 2013, Page 65: “If neither running nor hiding is a safe option, as a last resort when confronted by the shooter, adults in immediate danger should consider trying to disrupt or incapacitate the shooter by using aggressive force and items in their environment, such as fire extinguishers, and chairs.” Download PDF
• New York City Police Department, NYPD Active Shooter – Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation, 2011, Page 6: “Take Action: If neither evacuating the facility nor seeking shelter is possible, building occupants should attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by throwing objects, using aggressive force, and yelling.” Download PDF
• Ohio Attorney General School Safety Task Force, Recommendations and Resources, 2013, Page 50: “Staff and students may utilize methods to distract the shooter/intruder’s ability to accurately shoot or cause harm, such as loud noises or aiming and throwing objects at the shooter/intruder’s face or person.” Download PDF
Chambers County School District Letter
Recently, there has been much discussion in the media related to a school district in Alabama asking parents to provide their children with a canned good to be brought to school in order to build a supply of items that could be used in a critical incident. The ALICE Training Institute (ATI) has received many inquiries from the media and the public asking how this procedure actually fits in the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) program.
In the letter sent to the parents, the principal states that the canned good could be used as a last resort to perhaps “catch the intruder off guard”. This is a totally correct, and logical, statement. The Counter strategies written by ATI, and adopted by thousands of organizations around the country, are a strategy of last resort, and only to be used should contact by made by a shooter who is targeting a group of innocent people. The strategies are designed to greatly increase the chances of mitigating the planned casualties through two means:
- Use overwhelming stimulus to interrupt the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately
- People become a much harder target
Following the concepts of Movement, Distance, and Distractions, citizens can achieve the desired outcome of casualty mitigation. The initial goal when confronted by the shooter is not necessarily to stop his ability to shoot, but to, as quickly as possible, inhibit his ability to shoot accurately. Even from a close distance.
The throwing of any available item, including canned goods, at the face of the shooter will immediately cause the desired effect in practically every human being. The natural response to an item being thrown at one’s face is a break in attention, closing one’s eyes, and a reflexive movement to protect one’s face. Once that has been achieved, many of the skills needed to complete the skillset of shooting accurately will immediately be negated, and less accurate shooting will result. This will surely mean lower hit rates which translate into fewer casualties.
Once this distraction has been achieved, the citizens are then afforded the opportunity to either attempt evacuation, or physically take control of the shooter using their vast superiority of numbers. These are simple but extremely effective strategies. Actions are always dictated by age, physical and mental abilities, and circumstances. (Read more about ATI’s age appropriate training). But it is important that citizens understand all of their response options.
While the use of canned goods to achieve the desired result of distracting the shooter is not a specific ATI recommendation, we fully support the concept as outlined in the school’s plan as a tool for distraction. The validity of this plan is substantiated by the thousands of organizations around the country in all demographics who have made ALICE part of their Active Shooter response plan. These organizations represent approximately 22 million citizens of all ages who are now exposed to this type of training in proactive, options-based responses to these extremely dangerous situations. Their belief in the program’s ability to save lives is a huge honor for the ALICE Training Institute, and it is greatly appreciated.