By Solai Alagappan
The ALICE Training Institute has been assisting schools in the US including Andover High to have a greater chance of surviving a school shooting.
ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, is a method that K-12 schools including those in Andover use to stay safe and secure during a shooting event. It is a method that teaches students to either run, hide, or fight depending on where an intruder may be. Andover High School had an ALICE drill last year and may have another one soon. AHS practices this specific method because it is the better alternative to locking the doors and waiting inside the corner of a classroom for the police to arrive.
Principal Conrad stated, “It gives decision-making to a broader number of people. You may or may not be close to the action but you, your classmates, and teachers can make decisions as opposed to me trying to make decisions for everybody.”
In 2000, a law enforcement officer named Greg Crane founded ALICE after the Columbine massacre, a tragic school shooting in Colorado. It was created to establish increased safety in a situation like that.
For students to obtain maximum protection, they must know the ALICE system and how to perform it. Schools practice ALICE with drills to ensure that this happens. Andover High School did well in their past drills but plan to do better in future ones.
Conrad explained, “Like anything, the more you practice it, the better you get at it, so there were some things that we did last year that were not as up to speed as we would like, but in general I’d say we did pretty well and we learned a lot from it. We continue to learn from every time we do a drill. We, as a whole school, can refine our processes as we do ALICE drills more and more.”
Even though ALICE has been resourceful for many schools in the U.S., other institutes have different methods to keep the students safe.
Aishwarya Palaniyappan, a sophomore who went to a boarding school in India last year, said, “In our old school, the campus was closed so nobody could come in without having some sort of relative; therefore, we were completely protected and did not have drills of any sorts,”