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Security training in school (A.L.I.C.E. Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate)

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

(A.L.I.C.E., Active Shooter & Intruder Response training, etc.)

Have your children had this type of training?  Did it negatively affect your children?  Did you opt out?

 

My niece and nephew went through this type of training last month and it really affected them negatively. I was relieved our school was not doing this. Well…now our school has decided to use A.L.I.C.E. training for the staff and students.

 

I have several reasons I do not think this type of training is good for young children and I am considering asking if we could opt out of the training. But I would like to hear the opinions of other parents.  Maybe there is something I am missing...so many of the parents think it is a good idea and I don't feel the same.

 

eta:  I think the teachers and staff should be trained - whether with this method or another.   I am not convinced the benefits outweigh the negatives when the children are brought into this training.

 

 

 

Note: I searched but did not find another thread about this topic. If it has already been discussed, please direct me to the thread.


Edited by dbsam - 3/1/13 at 7:45pm
post #2 of 17

yes, my kids have been through lockdown drills. No, it did not effect them negatively.

 

We do lockdown drills at the elementary school where I work once in a blue moon, but don't tell the kids why.

 

The monthly fire drill is tough on kids with sensory issues, but I still think it is important to practice things and make sure that as many people as possible know what to do.
 

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

yes, my kids have been through lockdown drills. No, it did not effect them negatively.

 

We do lockdown drills at the elementary school where I work once in a blue moon, but don't tell the kids why.

 

The monthly fire drill is tough on kids with sensory issues, but I still think it is important to practice things and make sure that as many people as possible know what to do.
 

Although my children haven't had a lockdown or non-fire evacuation drill yet...I would be alright with that - the way I understand them.    (My children are 8 and their school is preschool (18 months) - 6th grade.)

 

It is the 'counter' part of this training that I am concerned with.  While trying to give the students options, the trainer gave them way too much information and details.  My neice and nephew (3rd and 6th grades) were told things like this:

 

- If the door is locked and you are in the hallway begging to come in, we cannot let you in.  The gunman might have a gun to your head and will make you say things to let you in and then he will kill us all.  (Although that might be the reality, there is no point telling the children that.)

 

-  If the gunman gets into the room, start throwing your shoes and books at him so he is distracted and some kids can get out.  (Now maybe that is the best thing to do and the teacher can asses that and say it at the time.  However, telling the kids all the scenarios gives them a huge sense of fear and really no sense of empowerment.  Both of the children knew throwing the shoes at the gunman may or may not help.  My neice and nephew have been stressed out since the training.)

 

I only have a minute so I c/n go into too much detail...hope that made sense.

post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post

- If the door is locked and you are in the hallway begging to come in, we cannot let you in.  The gunman might have a gun to your head and will make you say things to let you in and then he will kill us all.  (Although that might be the reality, there is no point telling the children that.)

 

This part is way, WAY over the line of appropriate - it may be true, but it's completely inappropriate to put this image into an elementary student's head, IMO.  I can't see what possible benefit this would provide to a child, knowing this...if they are, God forbid, in a situation like this ever I don't think they're going to be soothed by "Oh yeah, I remember now, they told me before why they can't let me in - it's OK."  <eyeroll>.

 

 

 

When my son was in Pre-K (at a local elementary school), they had a bus drill, and the instructor was HORRIBLE.  He was graphic, and blunt, and more than just my own kiddo was visibly upset about it.  So we wrote a letter to the bus company and school not debating the purpose of the drill, or the necessity of it, but the CONTENT and AGE APPROPRIATENESS, and what kind of training the person who was giving the presentation had, re:  presenting topics to children of varying ages (i.e., what the man said was appropriate for like, the 3rd/4th/5th graders, but not 4 and 5 yos) - it was assertive, not emotional, and very direct about what the exact complaint was.  They responded favorably, and by the time my daughter went through the same drill 2 years later, it was much, much more appropriate.

 

I would definitely ask your district about the content of the program, any scripting available to preview, and the ability to opt out.  We opted out of a few other programs the schools offered when the kids were attending (we homeschool now).  

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post

 

This part is way, WAY over the line of appropriate - it may be true, but it's completely inappropriate to put this image into an elementary student's head, IMO.  I can't see what possible benefit this would provide to a child, knowing this...if they are, God forbid, in a situation like this ever I don't think they're going to be soothed by "Oh yeah, I remember now, they told me before why they can't let me in - it's OK."  <eyeroll>.

 

I agree.  They were told a lot of inappropriate, frightening things.

My niece was afraid to go to the bathroom or leave the classroom after training.  I think the training point was...if you are stuck in the hallway, you need to find your own way out or a place to hide.  In her class, they suggested hiding under the water fountain in the hall.  The fear, anxiety and worry do not seem worth the potential safety tip.

 

After weeks of not knowing why my nephew was so upset, my sister discovered he was trying to 'invent' a laser gun that he could take to school in case he had to defend himself against a gunman.  He felt responsible but helpless. 

 

I want the adults to be as prepared as possible...but I do not want my eight year olds worrying every day that someone is going to burst in and shoot them.

 

 

When my son was in Pre-K (at a local elementary school), they had a bus drill, and the instructor was HORRIBLE.  He was graphic, and blunt, and more than just my own kiddo was visibly upset about it.  So we wrote a letter to the bus company and school not debating the purpose of the drill, or the necessity of it, but the CONTENT and AGE APPROPRIATENESS, and what kind of training the person who was giving the presentation had, re:  presenting topics to children of varying ages (i.e., what the man said was appropriate for like, the 3rd/4th/5th graders, but not 4 and 5 yos) - it was assertive, not emotional, and very direct about what the exact complaint was.  They responded favorably, and by the time my daughter went through the same drill 2 years later, it was much, much more appropriate.

 

Very good advice - thanks. 

I am not sure if the same person will be doing the training at our school as at my niece/nephew's school.  The schools are in the same town - one a charter the other private.

 

I would definitely ask your district about the content of the program, any scripting available to preview, and the ability to opt out.  We opted out of a few other programs the schools offered when the kids were attending (we homeschool now).  

 

Our school is a small private school.  Typically I tend to agree with the owner and administrator's opinions of what is age appropriate so I was surprised to hear they are considering this program.  The school is having a parent meeting with the police officer who would be doing the training.  I am curious to hear how they can do this training in an age appropriate way.  I've watched videos and read quite a bit about the training.  It seems better for adults, college aged students, or maybe high school aged students.

 

 

 

 

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsam View Post
 
  I think the training point was...if you are stuck in the hallway, you need to find your own way out or a place to hide.  In her class, they suggested hiding under the water fountain in the hall.  The fear, anxiety and worry do not seem worth the potential safety tip.

 

 

The thing is - if that was their goal, then that needs to be what is addressed - "If you find yourself stuck in a hallway when the doors of the classrooms lock, find the closest object to hide under as fast as possible.  Let's make a list of the places that might be."  That is absolutely the point of the whole thing, making it understandable and accessible for the kids, but not traumatizing them. 

 

NO NEED WHATSOEVER to bring up a gunman holding a gun to your head forcing you to plead to the people inside a room to let you in.  God, it's nearly making ME cry, and I'm turning 40 in 6 months.  :(  

 

I would definitely talk with your school's administration about the content, any adaptations, and opting out.  Ugh.

post #7 of 17

dbsam - that is absolutely horrible. 

 

DS's school had the drills for the past two years, prior to recent events.  While it is awful to think about, I was fine with the training because I trust his current and former teacher to present the information and instruction in an age appropriate manner.  It hasn't upset DS yet, I don't think he can truly process why these drills are necessary.  All that benig said, there are teachers in DS's school that I could see presenting instructions like dbsam's example.

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

 All that benig said, there are teachers in DS's school that I could see presenting instructions like dbsam's example.

Strangely, the person who trained and said all the horrible things at my niece and nephew's school was a police officer, not a teacher.

 

Our school is having a meeting about the potential training tonight.  I have always felt our school administrator has a good understanding of what is age appropriate - and our teachers are great and always aware of how words and actions affect the children.  So, I am hoping they train the adults and then take the training out of the police officer's hands and have the teachers talk to the students. 

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just updating my own thread...

 

I was not impressed by the trainer's presentation ( a long story), but overall the meeting went well.  Our school decided not to teach the 'counter' portion of the training.  Every classroom in our school has an exit to the outside (except the upper El room where my children will be the next three years) so we are focusing on evacuation.  They are going to try and make structural changes so the upper EL room can also have a second exit.

 

The school is considering having the trainers teach the staff but then have the staff go through the drills with the children.  There will be no mention of armed intruders, shooters, killings, etc.  The details still need to be worked out and they have decided not to rush because they want to have it all planned out. 

post #10 of 17

I hope that they do wind up having the teachers trained, and focus on the things you've mentioned.  Good luck!

post #11 of 17

I think that the more kids know about "the plan" in general, the safer they feel.  When dd started school I was filling out the emergency contact paperwork and she was very interested in her safety plan.  Who could pick her up, the reasons someone else might pick her up, etc.  It made her feel safe to know exactly what would happen.

 

I think school drills are the same way.  When kids know exactly what they are supposed to do, they feel safer.

 

Using the examples they did was completely unacceptable.  Your poor niece and nephew.  Kids know what an "unsafe person" is, they don't need those kind of visuals in their heads!!

post #12 of 17
My son is in 1st grade and I believe they should do active shooter drills! I am a police officer and work in Colorado where theses things hit close to home, it can happen anywhere, whether you want to think about it or not. My department regularly trains on these types of scenarios. Last time we did I had asked my son if they ever went over what to do if someone came into his school shooting. He sad no and his innocence showed when he inquired about why would someone do that. I explained that there are all kinds of bad people in this world and that it has happened before, even in an elementary like his and that children his age were shot and lost their lives. Maybe my son is more perceptive because he knows mommy is a cop and catches bad guys and stuff but I want him to know the world can be a cruel place. Just as parents tell their children not to talk to strangers or get in a car with people they don't know no matter if they got candy or have lost their dog. My son can't just leave it at that... He has to know why. I just told him if something like that happens in his school, do not try to be a hero and stop the person but to HIDE wherever he can, a closet, cabinet, or under his desk. Throwing shoes at them will only get their attention and make your child a target (to save others is noble but no parent wants to lose their child) I agree with the previous posts. I believe they definitely should be briefed and possibly do drills but NOT done so graphically as to put such fear into the children.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by loulou81 View Post

I want him to know the world can be a cruel place.

 

I would imagine he now believes that. I want my children to believe deep down that the world is mostly a good place, that most people are kind and honest, and that hope and optimism are what will make it a better place. I believe that when they are young it is my job to keep them safe so that they can go on building that world view. Gradually, once that world view is secure, they can learn about the exceptions and learn how to keep risk in perspective and manage it appropriately for themselves. There is a lot in our current culture that conspires to present a view of the world mired in danger, fear and paranoia. I prefer to put my energy into providing a counter-balance to that. Your perspective and your parenting are up to you, but personally I can't tell you how strongly I disagree with telling first-graders that shooters could come into their classroom and kill children.

 

Miranda

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by loulou81 View Post

 I had asked my son if they ever went over what to do if someone came into his school shooting. ..... I believe they definitely should be briefed and possibly do drills but NOT done so graphically as to put such fear into the children.

 

 

How could telling your son that a shooter could come into his school do anything other than put fear into him? Wasn't that your point? To scare him?

 

 

 

The school I work at was put on lockdown today. At the time, we did not know why. It happened in the middle of dismissal, so obviously, not a drill. We had a lock down in the middle of kids getting on buses and parents picking up their kids and day car vans loading. Every child was outside of the building, but most were still on campus. It went amazingly smooth because the students LISTENED TO THE TEACHERS and PRINCIPAL and did what they were told. They didn't freak out, because:

 

1. They've had lock drown drills. The hear "lockdown", they think drill. They just do what they are told.

2. They didn't associate "lockdown" with "bad guy hear with guy to try to kill us." No body panicked.

 

I was thinking afterward how much time the kids spend on campus and not in their classrooms -- lunch, recess, assembly, specials like art, music, PE, library, and computer lab. I was thinking about kids walking around -- to get to speech therapy or see the school nurse. What the kids need to know in case of an actual emergency is to LISTEN to the school personal and not panic. There really are too many possible scenarios.

 

I cannot image that 25 children fighting to get into the one small closet in our room or attempting to shove everything out of the two low cabinets with doors would actual make ANY of them safer. How in the world could anyone tell a 6 or 7 year old that their life depended on beating their classmates out of the safest spots to hide? (which, BTW, are full of stuff). Classrooms are designed without hiding spots so that the teacher can see all the students. "Go under your desks" (or in our case, tables) sure. Hide in a closet? Not realistic. Have you thought through the logistics of this in the various spaces of the school that your child uses? Have you thought through what it would be like if ALL the children were trying to do what you told your child? When you go make these speeches, do you ask if the closets are unlocked? Most closets are kept locked at schools.

 

Our lockdown today was due to a man with a gun being spotted outside a school near ours, but not near our school. No one was hurt.

 

 

As a child, I lived in a part of the country with frequent tornadoes, and we had tornado drills as well as fire drills at my school. I could never keep track of which one you were supposed to close all the windows for and which one you were supposed to open all the windows. I wonder what some kids are internalizing and understanding about some of these drills and trainings. For most children most of the time, listening to the adults who they know is really their best bet in an emergency. It is our responsibility as adults to look after the children -- not their job to know what to do and push the other children out of the way to make it happen.

post #15 of 17
I agree. At our school the lockdown spaces are often the classroom storage closet, bathroom and teacher's office but the kids listening to instructions is the most important.


And for the record, I've never told my kids not to talk to strangers.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

And for the record, I've never told my kids not to talk to strangers.

Me either. Gavin de Becker in "Protecting the Gift" makes a very strong case for the whole stranger danger approach actually putting kids at increased risk.

Miranda
post #17 of 17

My kids schools have lock-down drills. My son's school has been on actual lock-down before as well. In second grade a janitor had a handgun left in his jacket in the janitors office. A coworker found out and alerted the office, who called the police. Other than thinking that the drill was lasting a really long time none of the kids had any clue that it was something other than a drill. The kids were all debriefed in age appropriate manners at the end of the school day. Linda on the Move made the point that things progress orderly with no real panic when it's just another thing that students periodically do during their day. And honestly most lock-downs are like the one she described in her earlier post or the one my son had and there is never an active shooter. There are occasions where a lock-down keeps students in their classrooms and out of harms way to keep potential situations from escalating. That's a good thing and no reason for panic. I do think students would need to understand what to do if they were outside their classroom when one happened, but it doesn't need to be a graphic description of them being directly in harms way.

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