Streetsboro -- The biggest misconception about ALICE training involves the "counter" aspect, according to Streetsboro High School Guidance Counselor Ira Campbell, an ALICE instructor.
"Counter is not chasing down the guy with the gun," said Campbell. "Instead, it is a last resort -- doing anything you can to interrupt or distract the shooter. Run, throw, yell. Do anything you can to stay alive.
"It's a last resort," Campbell repeated. "I can't stress that enough. We're training students not to be static targets."
Athletic Director Randy Tevepaugh, also an ALICE instructor, said countering is the most challenging component of ALICE, but "countering increases survivability."
Streetsboro school officials and police put on an ALICE informational session Sept. 16 at Streetsboro High School. Six adult residents attended.
ALICE is a crisis training program that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter and Evacuation. The ALICE program gives participants response options when encountering an active shooter or other dangerous intruder. All school staff members were trained in the ALICE concept in August.
Students in Streetsboro schools will be receiving ALICE training over the next three months in each building.
"[The training] is directly related to the age of the child," said Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh. "We believe our parents need a chance to ask questions. So we're having a community forum in each building so parents can view a presentation about ALICE, then they can apply it to that grade level. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what ALICE is. This gives our parents a chance to directly ask about those misconceptions."
Future forum dates are Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at Wait Primary School, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at Streetsboro Middle School and Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. at Henry Defer Intermediate School.
"ALICE is enhancing what we did with lockdowns," said Streetsboro High School Principal Eric Rauschkolb. "Before, we had a 'one size fits all' mentality. We just went with the lockdown. Now, ALICE allows our staff and students to make the best decisions for individual circumstances."
Campbell said the accepted procedure in the past was to "go in a corner and wait" when a shooter was in the building.
"But why wouldn't you just go out the door if you could if the shooter was in the other direction?" he asked. "Lockdown isn't completely gone, but there's more to it. We need to barricade, and we need the ability to move."
Campbell said it is easier for elementary students to learn not to just sit and wait than it is for high school students, who've been trained for years in the traditional lockdown response.
"[School intruders] are not highly skilled," said Campbell. "By having large groups clustered together makes it easier for them."
DARE Police Officer Jason Fogleman said moving targets are harder to hit.
"Chaos makes it harder for the shooter," Fogleman said.
Fogleman said it is important for students to move away from the shooter, if possible, because the main job of police isn't to help students.
"My job is to stop the bad guys [in school shooting situations]," Fogleman said. "I know it sounds harsh, but that's the way it is."
Fogleman compared a shooter in a school to a fire because staff members and students should move away from both.
"Fire is like the bad guy," he said. "Think of it that way."
Streetsboro Police Lt. Darin Powers said while ALICE training is best known for adoption by schools, it can be used "in a work place -- anywhere you can think of where a shooting might occur."
The Campus Elementary School presentation was Sept. 9. Daulbaugh said nine families attended.
"The parents who came out were supportive of the ALICE model," said Campus Principal Kristen Cottrell. "They asked good questions and gave us some valuable feedback regarding information they would like us to give to them as we begin to train their children. Although the attendance was lower than we hoped, the parents who were there said they will spread the word about the importance of what they learned. Hopefully, this will result in larger turnouts for the later meetings, so we can inform and get feedback from as many parents in the district as possible."
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