The days of huddling and hiding are over. Now Wellington teachers are being trained to take smarter steps should an intruder ever threaten their students.
A teacher in-service day Oct. 16 was used to roll out a new school district safety plan. ALICE is an acronym for five steps that can be used to increase the chances of surviving a surprise attack by an active shooter.
It’s been widely adopted by school districts across Ohio.
Although the safety plan works in the event there’s an active shooter, that’s not all it could be used for. The letters, which stand for Alert, Lock down, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate, can help in any emergency situation such as a gas leak or train derailment.
“The active shooter is the worst case scenario,” superintendent Dennis Mock said. “ALICE is the best plan to deal with any emergency.”
He previously implemented ALICE when serving as superintendent in Genoa.
Cari Buehler, principal at Genoa High School, was recruited to show Wellington teachers the ropes of the new system. Tom Wieczorek, a patrolman at Cuyahoga Community College, stepped in to give hands-on training.
Wieczorek showed staff how to tie and block a door, how to break a window, how to take down an intruder, and how to throw objects to distract an intruder.
“It’s empowering them to do something,” he said.
Representatives from the police department, fire department, and South Lorain County Ambulance District also attended the in-service.
Mock said he’s planning to have a meeting for parents and community members to learn about ALICE. He also hopes to have a demonstration in the near future similar to the mock shooter training session held in September at Amherst Steele High School.
That exercise involved teachers role-playing as students as a faux-intruder entered the building with a blank-loaded gun. SWAT, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, EMTs, local police, LifeFlight, hospitals, and the Lorain County Bomb Squad were all involved in the practice session.
“It’s a crazy world and we worry about safety,” Mock said.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.