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Column: ALICE training teaches crisis response for violent incidents

By Parker Sandhurst, District 518

WORTHINGTON — Students in all of our facilities are looking towards the end of the school year, and seniors have already said their last goodbyes to the classrooms that have prepared them for their next challenges and ambitions. But our staff have some very important days of learning scheduled for them in early June.

Among other workshops and training, Independent School District 518 staff will be undergoing the final training sessions for the new crisis response system being implemented across the district. ALICE training has equipped our staff with tools and systems for reacting to a violent critical incident. ALICE is a nationally recognized crisis response system that has been implemented in organizations of many types across the nation.

Training for this kind of situation is not something that many like to think about or dwell on, but it has become a large part of the school safety and security discussions. ISD 518 continues to implement security measures and adhere to those measures currently in place, but recognizes that further steps are needed. The ALICE method equips staff and students with tools such as enhanced lockdowns, which include barricading doors among other things, and evacuation whenever possible. These trainings with staff will be completed in June and the district will begin training the student body early in the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

The student portion of ALICE training will teach similar skills within the ALICE method, but will be different from the training the staff receives. Enhanced lockdown and evacuation are still among the skills and methods to be taught, but they are scaled to be age appropriate across the different grade levels in the district. As always, the safety and well-being of the students is always the first priority in all situations. This is especially true in crisis response situations and drills. Students will never be asked to engage in an activity that they feel uncomfortable with or that would put them at increased risk.

More information will be coming from ISD 518 as student training in the 2019-20 school year draws closer. Informational meetings are planned to occur at the back to school open houses, and several communications will be sent to families of ISD 518 students. If you have any questions or concerns about the topic of student safety within the school buildings, please contact a building administrator or the District 518 Administrative Office.

It is understood that this a sensitive and unnerving topic, but it is also one that cannot be ignored or glossed over. ISD 518 is committed to offering the best in student safety, and the ALICE system will be one of many policies and procedures used by ISD 518 that assists in this goal. If you have questions about student safety within the school buildings, please contact a building administrator.

Parker Sandhurst is District 518’s communications coordinator.

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