As the APS school district continues to update many aspects of security at their schools around Albuquerque, they have resolved to do away with the traditional lock down and shelter-in-place response to an attack. Instead,they are now implementing a defense strategy called ALICE throughout Albuquerque Schools.
ALICE is a new tactic that stands for alert, lock down, inform, counter, and evacuate. The strategy is, as the name states, to lock down a school that is in the midst of an attack, defend against an attacker, and to then evacuate from the premises.
This strategy was pitched as the “best practice” for nationwide school safety, and has already been introduced to 3,700 school districts-including APS. The official ALICE website, www.alicetraining.com, described their training; “Training instructor led classes provide preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.”
The teachers and staff at Sandia recently completed training on how to react to a school emergency following ALICE guidelines. Kathy Browning, one of the humanities teachers here at Sandia, when asked if she felt more confident in the new strategy as opposed to the previous, responded,”I like this technique better than the previous technique because I don't feel like I’m a sitting duck in my classroom with my students.” She also explained how ALICE would empower students and lead them to action,”It gives students a choice and allows them to fight back rather than feeling like they are helpless”.
The implementation of ALICE is expected to not only better protect and aid students in a possible emergency situation,but it is also expected to better discourage any attacks. At Sandia we will begin to practice the ALICE tactic when lock down drills occur to equip students with the knowledge of what will happen and what they are to do in the possible event of an attack on the school.