Message from the Superintendent

 

April 14, 2015

Dear Colleagues:

Over the last several months, we have been researching and discussing a topic I know most of us wish we did not have to explore. Yet, we must prepare for the possible reality of a violent intruder entering one of schools or District buildings. The safety of everyone in our schools and work areas within the District is at the forefront of why we are making a necessary change in our practices and I ask you to review it carefully.

Our current lockdown practices are: quickly get into a room, huddle together, close the blinds, turn out the lights, lock the doors and remain quiet, with no one going in or out. The International Association of Chiefs of Police, Homeland Security, the Department of Education and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction are among the authorities who deem this is no longer sufficient. They identify “Run-Hide-Fight” as the standard of care for schools responding to possible acts of violence such as an active shooter.

A volunteer group of District staff met twice to discuss these possible changes to our policy and procedures. Representatives from each of our law enforcement jurisdictions in the District presented and participated in these meetings working alongside staff to identify concerns and approaches to implementation. 

A.L.I.C.E. stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. The basis of this new response plan is to provide staff and students more options. The five steps of A.L.I.C.E. are not linear. They can be used by staff and students in any order, as the situation develops. The number one goal of A.L.I.C.E. is to keep students and staff safe and away from harm. What the training looks like for our different age groups of students will vary greatly. For example, we will not teach elementary students to counter violent intruders.

A report was presented to the School Board March 24, regarding the A.L.I.C.E. model and they are supportive of implementing it for the 2015-2016 school year. We know we already have several school communities who have been looking at and moving toward this model, but it will be important that we use the remainder of this school year to develop a District training plan, focusing on appropriateness for different age groups. A.L.I.C.E. is the foundation, but it is important that each school plan be customized based on age group and geographical layout, just as we have always done.

This coming August, principals will be trained first.  The training will extend to building staff and then students. We are looking at ways to include parents in the trainings through parent group presentations as well, so everyone in our school communities are vested in this important change.

Through this, we are empowering our staff and students with more safety options by ensuring that they are educated and prepared. Past tragedies have demonstrated that simply having students lockdown and attempt to hide is not always the most appropriate response.

I appreciate your attention to this information.

Sincerely,

Nick


 


 
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