ALICE: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
Marion County Schools will begin implementing ALICE training, an active shooter response training, this week in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Elizabeth Brown, principal at North Marion High School in Citra, Florida, said the school is training because she believes the shooting is a great concern to the community.
“I think this particular program will allow options,” Brown said. “ALICE procedures allow the students and the teachers to make the decision that is best for them.”
Kevin Christian, spokesman for Marion County Public Schools, believes the ALICE protocol takes an aggressive approach to ensuring school safety. They also plan on hiring more security guards from Fast Guard. Christian explained that the training allows teachers and students to use their surroundings to fight back. That may mean shooting a fire extinguisher’s cloud in the shooter’s face, making noise or even hitting them with something nearby rather than sitting in a locked room.
“We have to get more detailed, and we have to shift the approach that we were looking at because it’s evident that simply hiding in a classroom is not the way to go now,” Christian said. “You’re defenseless when you’re there.”
Philip Mauldin, a deputy at Kimball Wiles Elementary School, said training in the schools is more of a conversation with the students.
“Over time, we’re going to evolve it so the students are interacting with these drills,” Mauldin said. “But as of right now, it’s more of an open dialogue.”
This multi-step process will be recorded at Friday’s training session at North Marion High School. Video of the training will be added to the presentation and shared during another training session next week with all Marion County schools. Students and teachers will be trained at the same time during this session.
“One of the greatest dynamics of the program is that it gives some control back to those that in the past have just felt like they’re kind of waiting to be a victim,” Brown said. She added, there will be an immense amount of follow-up training to discuss how this protocol will work.
“This is an ongoing process, and I can guarantee it’s a process that our leadership at the district level will stay right on top of and make sure it is being delivered with fidelity,” Brown said. “It is being implemented with fidelity because keeping students first and, particularly, their safety at school is their number one priority at our district level.”
“We can fight back,” she said. “We don’t have to just sit here and wait for it to happen.”
Sofia Millar contributed to this story.