More Local Schools Turn to ALICE Training - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

More Local Schools Turn to ALICE Training

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School safety has been a hot topic in the past few weeks, as teachers and administrators look for ways to better protect students. One program that has been sweeping the nation is ALICE training. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.

 In September we did a story on the ALICE program in Dewitt schools. Now Moline, Rock Island, North Scott, and Bettendorf have also begun to implement the program and that's just to name a few. North Scott school leaders even met with parents Monday night about it. Bettendorf parents will get a chance to hear about it later this month as well.

"Of course we hope with all our heart that nothing like this ever has to be used," said David Griffin, the North Scott Junior High Principal.

However, the reality is the shooting at Sandy Hook happened, and now schools everywhere are looking at their security. That's where the ALICE program is equipping teachers and students with what they need to know to better their chances of survival.

"Past protocols have been to lockdown and hide or be quiet and have yourself huddled in a corner things such as that," said Theron Schutte, Superintendent of Bettendorf Schools.

It's a move he says can often do more harm than good.

"When faced with an active shooter, being a standing target isn't the best course of action in order to minimize the threat," he said.

So what action should teachers take? Well, the ALICE program encourages them to think on their feet and evacuate if they can. Teachers at North Scott high school and junior high have already received a half day of training.

"It empowers teachers to make some decisions about whether they should the evacuate the room or maybe they should do additional things to block the door," Griffin said.

Students at the high school and junior high level will also eventually be trained in how they should react. School leaders at both Bettendorf and North Scott say elementary students will be talked to as well. Right now they are working with counselors to find the best way to approach that. They say fully implementing the new approach will take the next several months, but they believe it will make everyone safer in the long run.

"If that very unlikely but tragic event happens I think we will be better," Griffin said.

Many of the school leaders we spoke with say they have been planning to use ALICE training for quite some time. Local law enforcement agencies are also a big part of this, they have been attending the local training sessions as well.

Bettendorf schools will host a meeting for parents January 29th and 30th at 6:00 PM at the Mississippi Bend AEA.