Parents asked to change their thinking
Cari Buehler is asking for about 45 minutes of time from residents of the Genoa School District – parents of students in particular.
The assistant principal of Genoa High School is confident the emergency response training that district personnel have undergone can be utilized in situations other than schools, including retail outlets, movie theaters, and others.
Buehler is the lead administrator in the district to be trained in the ALICE – Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate emergency response program.
A former teacher and mother of four children, including three enrolled in Genoa schools, Buehler is convinced the more the community is aware of ALICE principles the better it would be prepared to respond to a tragic situation such as what occurred last month in Newtown, Connecticut.
“I spent about a year and a half researching ALICE. Who was using it,” Buehler said. “We decided to take some time and look into it and decided it was in everyone’s best interest to know about what we’re doing. We want community members to know what ALICE covers.”
The district has scheduled its second informational session to explain the program to the community for Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
A session held in the fall was attended by about 50 or so residents. District officials decided to hold another meeting after the shootings in Connecticut.
In some emergency situations, it’s possible, says Buehler, some students may be told to flee their building while others may remain under lockdown.
“We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from our first session,” she said. “But some residents have had questions like, ‘Do you want students running down Genoa Clay Center Road?’ We’re asking people to change their way of thinking. The great thing about ALICE is you make it work for your district.”
The more informed parents are of the district’s response plan for a crisis situation, the better, Buehler said. “Once police get on the scene no one would probably get within a two-mile radius of the school.”
Clay Township Police Chief Terry Mitchell also praised the ALICE program for its flexibility.
Buehler said her goal is to videotape the session and have it posted on the district’s website.
The Genoa district was the first school system in Ottawa County to adopt the ALICE program, she said.
Memorial trees offered
An offer by a former Lake Township trustee to purchase a tree and have it planted as a memorial to the students killed in Connecticut was well received by the board of trustees Wednesday.
The offer by John Welch was quickly approved by the trustees, Melanie Bowen, Richard Welling, and Ron Sims, who then offered to each purchase a tree.
Bowen recommended a tree be planted on township property along East Broadway that may be developed into a park and at the township’s parks.
Police Chief Mark Hummer said the township police association would also contribute for a tree.