With the one year anniversary of the shooting in Parkland right around the corner, safety in schools has been on everybody’s minds, especially administration.
On January 14, hundreds of students flooded the Performing Arts Center for a presentation on ALICE training. School Resource Officer Dennis Stampfl led the presentation and discussed exactly what ALICE training is. He explained the new protocol that expands upon what students can do in a violent situation in order to save their lives.
The presentation highlighted that in the event of a school shooting the number one choice of action is evacuating. ALICE training provides you other options of safety if you find that you can’t leave the building.
Officer Stampfl, Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown, and the Chief of Police, believe the traditional lockdown philosophy was old news and began creating a new and improved system of safety.
“Due to the history of violence in schools, especially in the past few years, we believed it was time to change the way we were handling it,” said Stampfl.
Teachers began the training in October and students are now beginning theirs. For the students, one of the issues that was presented was knowing the signs of a school shooter. A post online or a simple side comment could be a sign of a deeper threat. The administration wants students to know that if you see something, say something.
“We want to empower the students. We don’t want them to be afraid to speak up if they see something or are concerned for their safety and others,” said Stampfl.
The day following the presentation during TGA, teachers played a video from Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization that trains students and adults to know the signs of gun violence. The objective of the video was to show that signs of violence can be right in front of you, you just have to know what they are. After the video was finished, students were given papers with real dangerous shooting situations on them and they had to decide what the best method of protection would fit.
“It’s good to inform kids about this now because it’s a real thing and it could happen. If we don’t address it we won’t know what to do if the situation ever arises,” said senior Ellen Gouveia when asked how she felt after the presentation.
Students are concerned about their safety especially after seeing the unfortunate stories on the TV
screens and social media.
“I think it’s good that we are prepared for these scenarios but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying,” said sophomore Chiara Marini.
“It is a big responsibility to save your own life and I believe ALICE training is a step in the right direction,” added senior Colleen Ellis.