Should Schools Go on the Offensive?

They may be controversial, but these proactive methods of school security are building a track record


The program he has developed is called “A.L.i.C.E. Training” -- which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate -- and is predicated on the premise that if potential victims make themselves a more difficult target, their survival rates increase. In a recent interview on National Public Radio, Crane said that his training doesn’t tell {students and staff} what to do, rather it instructs them what they can do. “Ultimately, they're going to be the ones experiencing this danger, and we want them to be the ones to decide, 'What is it that I can do that will increase my chance of survival?' "

The A.L.i.C.E.  supporters say the training is all about empowering potential victims in a shooting situation to make life-and-death decisions, including children. More than 1.5 million students in 300 school systems -- from elementary to universities -- have taken this training.

Auburn University emergency manager Chance Corbett recently conducted A.L.i.C.E training on campus for more than 30 students and staff, noting that the survival rate of potential victims depended on how each reacted to the threats posed. “When it gets to the point that [the shooters] are there to do the harm, do you really want your kid just to hide under the desk?” Corbett asks. He pointed to one example in the Auburn emergency training simulation where 12 students in one building were 'killed' in a classroom and eight in another where they simply huddled in the back of the room. There were zero casualties in another classroom where students and staff barricaded the door.

As we contemplate stricter gun control laws, debate the effect of violent children’s entertainment and how to better intercede with the mentally ill, it seems all options are now on the table when it comes to securing our schools.

Solutions that might have been considered far-fetched are now just “out-of-the-box” ideas. But there remains one constant. There must be a security strategy all schools embrace and practice. And it must be more than just duck and cover.