Training for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s new intruder response procedure has now reached parents and educators.
Kenai police Sgt. Jay Sjogren presented on ALICE protocol, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, to parents and teachers at the Mountain View Elementary School Site Council meeting Thursday. The program is modeled as a proactive, multi-optional response to active shooter scenarios, Sjogren said.
The training will carry a different weight for elementary students, especially incoming kindergartners who will be looking to the adults inside their classroom for direction, Sjogren said.
“We all know in this day and age this is the reality,” Sjogren said. “ALICE gives you more tools for your tool belt, a way to come to a resolution and make personal decisions as elementary educators.”
Last August principals, local law enforcement and school district administration received the first round of education and training for ALICE. Alaska State Troopers and municipal police were designated within the school district as the primary trainers for staff and students in individual schools and classrooms.
Parent Heidi Bond, who attended the site council meeting, said the training seems to be in the beginning stages in terms of actually being implemented in the schools.
Mountain View assistant principal Bill Withrow said it wouldn’t likely be until early spring when students receive training for carrying out ALICE. Right now school district and building administrators are developing the material that will be taught in the classrooms, he said.
“The educational material will be age appropriate,” Withrow said. “We are not going to show the same material to a sixth-grader, senior and kindergartner.”
Sjogren said in a few years the kindergartners and first-graders will have the procedure down just like a fire drill. He recommended books such as “The Ant Hill Disaster,” by Julia Cook to be included in the training curriculum, which may help normalize ALICE concepts.
“It teaches students about doing something rather than nothing,” Sjogren said.
Parent Rhonda Scott said she was disappointed only three parents had shown up to the meeting.
Scott said she attended to learn about what the school district is changing in their curriculum that can help make students safer at school.
“I think this is far better than the lockdown method, where everyone in the building are sitting ducks,” Scott said. “With ALICE teachers and students learn to defend themselves.”
Scott said she believes her children would be able to easily pick up on the new training, but it may feel scary for them at first because of the content. She said she thinks parents should reinforce the idea behind ALICE at home because active shooters can target public places as well.
“Is it perfect? No. Is it better than what we had? Absolutely,” Sjogren said. “It really falls on your shoulders and educators at this level to make those decisions. You will have to make the best decisions you can. You have to empower yourselves and empower each other.”
Reach Kelly Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.