Students Must be as Informed About ALICE as WHS Staff

How does the school benefit from only training the faculty?


Students are unaware of what the acronym ALICE stands for.

During the 2018-2019 school year, mysterious red backpacks appeared on the wall of every classroom in WHS. They arrived with no context, no warning, and therefore, no way of helping anyone in the school during a crisis.

On Feb. 12, WHS Resource Officer Thomas Hart, Officer Matthew Crown and Officer Patrick O’Connor presented to WHS students with information about ALICE. However, students have heard nothing about ALICE since, but the faculty has had several in-service hours of training. The students deserve a chance of survival by being equally informed.

ALICE is an acronym for alert, lock down, inform, counter and evacuate. It provides faculty and students a break down of the steps to follow in the event of an emergency, and is the start to an advancement away from the previous strategy of just a lockdown. Lockdowns are primarily considered ineffective now, as they keep students that have the possibility of safely exiting the building locked within the school and potentially in harm’s way.

According to the ALICE Training Institute, they are working to provide Americans “the knowledge
and skills to survive when shots are fired,” claiming the goal is to “achieve this by training as many people as possible and implementing training in drill form across all organizations.” If the group that brings us this acronym believes in more training to properly develop the fundamentals in order to survive an incident in the school building, why are the students at WHS so ill-informed of everything?

“We believe that individuals should be prepared for active shooter events and empowered to make their own life-saving decisions. Once empowered to make their own life-saving decisions, individuals must be trained in proactive active shooter response options, rather than a passive, mandated, one-size-fits-all response,” the ALICE Training Institute added.

If a lockdown drill was something that was required each year prior to using ALICE, then why is it not crucial for the students to practice or be regularly informed about what to do in the event that an armed, unidentified person or peoples enters the building?

Although the school is waiting for the Walpole Police Department to decide on implementing ALICE training for students, they should at least try to make a point in informing the student body with the meaning of the acronym. For example, only a few classrooms have a sign, and if anything, it’s just a printer page of paper.

It is understandable that the Walpole Police Department is in charge of informing all students of all schools in the district along with Norfolk County Agricultural High School, but November is already late into the school year, and there are still students that have transitioned to a new building and have not received training. That is, if an assembly is considered proper training.

Although ALICE is new to Walpole Police and WHS faculty, it should be a priority to give students more exposure, as there are plenty of situations that could occur and having more knowledge would be beneficial to the student body, as well as the community in general.