Oak Hall Implements A.L.I.C.E. Training

Students, faculty training scheduled for 2020

By Aiden Wacksman

To prepare for what is known as an “active shooter” situation on the Oak Hall campus, the administrative body has implemented Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (A.L.I.C.E.) training for students, faculty, and staff. While faculty and staff have participated in A.L.I.C.E. training for almost two years, students have not been introduced to it as of now. Sometime during the second semester of the 2019-20 school year, students will join faculty and staff while engaging in A.L.I.C.E. training for the first time.

A presentation by deputies Drew Davis and P.J. Mauldin explained that A.L.I.C.E. is defined as “a non-linear, decision-making process, which gives individual teachers [and] staff the power to make the best plan of action given their particular situation.” The deputies stated that “duck and cover” was proven to be an ineffective method during active shooter situations, exemplifying the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, which left 28 dead and two injured. They also emphasized how locked doors can be a game-changer in the unlikely situation a shooter enters a school building. “The great thing about A.L.I.C.E. is that faculty and staff can choose any one of the options and go with it,” Mauldin said.

According to David Jackson, Assistant Head of School, the idea of A.L.I.C.E. training was brought up one-and-a-half years ago. “We decided to implement A.L.I.C.E. training after reviewing security protocols,” he explained. Since school shootings have become more common in our society, Oak Hall decided to act by preparing teachers and staff for an active shooter situation. Now, the administration has decided that it’s time to get students involved.

“The most important thing we’re entrusted with every day as a school is ensuring the safety of our students, and it would be negligent of us to not engage them in this kind of training.”

David Jackson, Assistant Head of School

John Perlette, Upper School Head, noted that “Although the likelihood of this [active shooter] event is very small, having some level of preparation is important.” Perlette explained that he’s not sure how teachers or students will behave in an active shooter situation, but articulated that “In my opinion, the outcome will be better with training as opposed to an outcome without training.”

“I really appreciated the A.L.I.C.E. training for the teachers,” said Christine Gutierrez, Upper School math teacher. She explained that her A.L.I.C.E. training experience was very “intense and realistic,” and it taught her how to make a “mental map” of what to do in an active shooter situation. Gutierrez believes that a drill including both students and teachers could make A.L.I.C.E. training feel even more realistic. “When you hear the gun and smell the gunpowder, it’s definitely an experience to remember,” she said.  

Michelle Mills, Head of the Lower School, explained that A.L.I.C.E. training is very important and helpful. “It is important that teachers and students are equipped to make the right decisions in the event that an attack should occur,” she stated. Mills added that A.L.I.C.E. training is great because it provides Lower School students and teachers more options in an active shooter situation. “I think that more practice is important because we need the skills to become more effective and confident in case we ever have to use our training,” she said.