Manual and YPAS will practice an active shooter situation tomorrow, Feb. 22, using the district’s new ALICE system for intruders and active shooters during fourth block. This is in response to school shootings in Kentucky and Florida in the past weeks.
“We’ve been talking about having an ALICE drill all year, and we were unsure when, where and how. The latest school shooting in Flordia prompted us to say ‘you know what? This needs to be done,'” said Assistant Principal Greg Kuhn.
For the purposes of this drill, Kuhn at Manual and Assistant Principal Bryan Crady at YPAS will interrupt fourth block at approximately 1:30 p.m. with ALICE instructions and reminders. They will then give classes 10 minutes to discuss a plan of action before the drill begins. At approximately 1:50 p.m., the assistant principals will announce over the intercom the location of the “shooter,” who will be someone walking the hallways.
“It is our goal to come over the intercom and let everyone in the building know everything we know about the location of the intruder, and based on that information, teachers make individual decisions on whether they can get out of the classroom and run into the neighborhood as quickly as possible,” said Kuhn.
Teachers are instructed to evacuate the building if possible, but only go to the sidewalk for this drill. If there were to be a real active shooter situation, teachers are instructed to give students a “rendezvous point” at least a couple blocks from the school.
“What we are now asked to do is empower the teachers to the fullest extent we can with information,” Kuhn said.
“TEACHERS – This drill is conducted from an almost exclusively teacher-driven perspective. YOU are in charge of your classroom during this drill because, in the event of an active shooter, you will make decisions quickly and autonomously – based upon your assessment of your options,” Kuhn said in an email sent to teachers on Tuesday.
Manual and YPAS will be on a pep rally schedule Thursday to allow time for this drill. First, second and fourth blocks will last one hour and 15 minutes, and third block will last one hour and 20 minutes with the drill beginning promptly at 1:30 p.m.
“After the drill is over I’m going to ask teachers to debrief with their class and every student will get a feedback form where they give information about thoughts, ideas, unanswered questions or concerns. I’ve got a rating chart to give us feedback as well, so we really want to hear from students and teachers about the drill,” Kuhn said.
Following the drill, teachers will give a survey to their students and discuss the flaws and strengths in the execution of the practice.
“We will tabulate the data and know where we need to continue to put our efforts if we want to raise the compliance. We will use it to guide us as far as next steps,” Kuhn.
Manual and YPAS will follow this schedule:
Manual has a school safety team and a safe crisis management team, both of which are trained to handle situations and drills relating to student safety. They schedule annual safety drills to ensure that students know what to do in case of an emergency.
“I’m reasonably certain that this will be added to our list of safety drills every year,” Kuhn said.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. Alert means that any suspicious activities or people should be reported to the main office immediately. Following the alert, the office will inform the school about the threat and give as much detail as possible, including the intruder’s location, if possible.
“The system used to be in JCPS that we were instructed to lock the doors, turn out the lights an hide, and according to what we’ve been taught, the actual situations where an active shooting is occurring, people making efforts to escape has been the safest response,” Kuhn said.
After informing the school, the first plan of action is to evacuate. Teachers are instructed to use their best judgment on the intruder’s location, and if possible, get out of the building and run far away. If classes are unable to evacuate, the next step is lockdown, and teachers are encouraged to barricade doors and have their students hide. After which, the teacher will coordinate with students to counter an intruder should they enter the room. See below for the full document describing ALICE procedures in more detail.
The drill comes soon after two school shootings in both Kentucky and Florida in the past weeks. In addition to the ALICE drill, Manual will be adding more live cameras around the school and receive assistance from JCPS’ Security team for protocols.
“Manual aches for the Florida community as we did for Marshall County. These tragedies are not supposed to happen in our schools… Safety is our number one priority. We will continue to look at all avenues to identify any potential threat,” Principal Jerry Mayes said in an email to parents on Wednesday.