Two Ottawa County school systems plan to hold meetings this summer to educate the public about the Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate (ALICE) school emergency response program.
The Benton-Carroll-Salem School District and St. Boniface School will hold the town-hall meetings in August, said Guy Parmigian, superintendent of the B-C-S district.
The program was discussed during the May 28 meeting of the B-C-S school board.
Ron Dowling, a high school teacher, Don Christie, assistant middle school principal, and Parmigian presented information about the program to the school board along with Steve Weirich, Oak Harbor Police Chief.
The strategy behind the program will enhance the current safety policies already in place in the district, Chief Weirich said, in the event students and staff are faced with a shooter in one of the district’s school buildings.
The training is designed to increase the chances of surviving a shooting by providing options for students and staff, Parmigian said.
“It was very eye opening,” he said of the training. “It’s common sense but it’s about reducing the number of targets that, God forbid, if you have a shooter come into your building. We started our training by watching a video re-enactment of Columbine using transcripts of tapes. Teachers were telling kids to sit down, lock down, and don’t leave and some of those kids were about five feet away from a door and they could have escaped. We also looked at the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the mentality was just to lock down.
The ALICE training for Dowling, Christie, Parmigian, Weirich and Jody Hatfield, Carroll Township Police Chief, was sponsored by the Materion Corp. at no cost to the school district, Parmigian said. Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick hosted the training at the county’s emergency training center.
School and government officials also have to locate suitable evacuation sites for students and staffs, Parmigian said.
Last month, the teaching and non-teaching staff at the high school, middle school, and elementary school at the Genoa School District underwent additional training for the ALICE program during an in-service day.
Officers of the Clay Township Fire Department walked through the halls of the schools firing rounds of blanks during a 30-minute session.
Staff members, who had been issued maps of firing spots, listened from their rooms and offices and were later able to discuss how they might react during an actual shooting.
Genoa was the first district in Ottawa County to adopt the program and undergo student training.