Albemarle teachers learning proactive ways to handle active shooter emergencies

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 2:53 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools is changing how it handles active shooter situations.

ALICE Training is all about being proactive. While teachers say they hope they never have to use it, the goal is to keep students safe.

“I hope that this two-day training is a complete waste of time,” Hollymead Elementary School Assistant Principal Stephanie Provines said Tuesday, January 24.

Provines has lots of priorities, and says student safety is at the top of that list.

“You really have options when there’s some sort of incident going on,” she said. “Previously, I think many of us have experienced a really traditional lockdown drill, which isn’t research based. It’s sort of a quick response of freezing in place”

Those options are the different parts of ALICE, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate.

“ALICE models are just a different training models to empower more teachers and staff to make their own choices on with their own safety instead of just waiting and doing nothing,” School Safety Coordinator Carl Murray said.

Murray used to work in law enforcement. Now, he’s helping to teach teachers.

“If you want to barricade, you can barricade. Instead of just waiting on the police, you have the power and the choice to make a decision to save your life and the people who were around you,” Murray said.

Dozens of ACPS staff members gathered at Albemarle High School to become experts on the new tactics. They will then teach the rest of the district, before the next school year.

“We are learning how to present the information, how to share it with our staff members, with our community, so that everybody is able to use these techniques,” Provines said. “It’s much more important that we think about it and that we plan ahead, instead of being reactive.”

ACPS says ALICE tactics will only be used for active shooter situations in schools, not threats. The goal is to have everyone working in Albemarle County schools trained up by August so these new tactics can be implemented next school year.

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