Op-ed: School’s active shooter school protocol should be updated

Zora Thomas
Contributing Writer

On March 24, 2018, 5,000-6,000 people protested in March for Our Lives, in Frank A. Theis Park, in Kansas City, MO, to stand up for student safety rights in schools. Unsplash photo by Annie Bolin

Most schools in the U.S. aren’t prepared for school shootings. 2018 had about 113 students/faculty members killed/injured during school shootings. There needs to be an updated plan for these incidents.

According to ALICE, WGHS protocol for active shooters is to Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, then Evacuate.

The official ALICE website, alicetraining.com, said, “Whether it is an attack by an individual person or by an international group of professionals intent on conveying a political message through violence, ALICE Training option based tactics have become the accepted response, versus the traditional ‘lockdown only’ approach.”

However, the ALICE approach to active shooters in schools might not be very useful if the gunman is in the room and says something like “Nobody move” or “Everyone stay still.” There is no plan for this situation. Students are only shown what to do if shooters aren’t in a classroom; shooters could be fellow classmates, but students aren’t prepared for that situation.  Although it would be almost impossible to be prepared for every situation possible, alicetraining.com said, “No single response fits all active shooter situations; however, making sure each individual knows his or her options for response and can react decisively will save valuable time.”

William Cummings, a writer for USA Today, while talking about the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, said, “The faculty, administration and students of the school had undergone various levels of ‘active shooter training,’ according to Broward County school board member Donna Korn, but the gunman, a former student of the school, was reportedly familiar with the school’s emergency plans, and he appears to have rendered that preparation moot with a flick of a fire alarm.”

WGHS teachers even have a specific day where they practice what to do (with other teachers) if someone among them has a gun, but all the students get is a video and some instructions. Some schools, like Forest Dale Elementary in Carmel, Indiana, have a more strategic protocol in which the intruder drills are more of a suprise than they usually would be. The administration would tell the teachers what day there would be a drill, but not what time or what kind (fire, intruder, tornado, etc.).

In conclusion, WGHS has prepared its students in the most fundamental way it could, but it could bekon  more useful if we updated/added to the ALICE protecal by getting students involved in the types of training activities that the teachers get.

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