Students need more frequent drills, less passivity

More active shooter drills and training other than hiding in place are needed to prepare schools

Isaiah Brewer, Video Editor

Growing up in America, there are certain things students have grown accustomed to such as fire drills. Most schools practice these routine drills once a month, and in each classroom, the nearest fire escape route is posted.

If there were ever a fire in a school building, it’d be safe to say that students would know exactly what to do. But could we say the same thing about a school shooting?

In most U.S. schools during active shooter drills, a lockdown goes into effect. Students and teachers within a classroom lock the door, close the blinds, turn off the lights and hide in a corner where they can’t be seen.

But a lockdown is no longer enough according to ALICE, an active shooter training program. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, and the organisation’s goal is to prepare schools and other public institutions on how to “more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event.”

Instead of a simple lockdown, the program includes alerting the whole building over an intercom system and countering the perpetrator.

The program encourages students involved in an active shooter situation to take their lives into their own hands rather than sitting stationary. If direct contact with the intruder is necessary, then they teach the best ways to engage in one‐on‐one contact to prevent further loss of life. If staying in a room is the safest thing for somebody in that instance, then the program teaches them how to barricade doors and grab chairs to deter any further loss of life.

They want you to do everything you can to stay alive.

ALICE is practically organized chaos in the sense that everyone knows what to do and where to meet after an intruder event.

While ALICE advises against a lockdown‐only response, WCPSS continues with a passive lockdown, but only once a year. So, not only are schools practicing an ineffective and stationary way to counter an active shooter, the practice is also infrequent.

Passive lockdown drills are very dangerous because students are vulnerable to the threat instead of taking matters into their own hands.

Extra security measures at public schools have significantly increased since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school just two months ago.

Doors that had never been locked are now being locked to provide a single entrance and exit point for potential intruders. Some schools have even regulated the type of backpacks students wear so that administrators can distinguish the contents inside. Other systems without police are looking to fund resource officers.

With the debate of gun control up in the air, schools have taken it upon themselves to come up with an answer like two solutions in Pennsylvania: going as far as arming teachers with buckets of rocks at the Blue Mountain School District and miniature wooden baseball bats in Erie.

This is not the answer. Arming every teacher in a school with weapons is simply going to hurt the whole situation.
Preparing schools for active shootings should be practiced just as much as a fire drill in all grades k-12. But to sit around in a classroom like a bunch of sitting ducks doesn’t sound very smart to me.

There’s a simple solution to this problem: practice more effective drills nationwide, such as ALICE.
And no, this isn’t a plea for guns to be outlawed in the United States. It’s a question of whether we are adequately preparing students for life or death situations the moment they walk through school doors.