The administration, faculty, and staff of the entire Hanover Public School District have been busy implementing a new philosophy towards the ominous threat of an active school shooter. In collaboration with the Hanover Police Department, new ALICE security training protocols are going to implemented. The ALICE program is specifically geared towards the mitigation of the threat of a school shooter.
ALICE is actually an acronym which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Simply put, those are the five points of any effective response to the threat of an active shooter. Alert means that all members of the school community should be lookout for anything suspicious or out of the ordinary. Lockdown is based on the traditional plan of hiding and staying put, but with a few changes detailed below. Inform means that communication in all mediums and between all people will be emphasized. Counter is your last resort option of physically evading or resisting an armed gunman. Evacuate is the idea that if it is safe to do so that you should leave the building and get as far away from the grounds as humanly possible. According to Mr. Galligan, assistant principal of HHS, that would mean at least West Ave if not farther. It is better if the school has to find you if you survive as opposed to staying in the building at the risk of survival. In order of preference, the first option is to Evacuate, the second would be to Lockdown, and the third would be to physically counter the attack.
Mr. Galligan is the ALICE coordinator for the high school. He explained to me the changes that will occur from a student’s point of view. Most importantly, the traditional lockdown that we have all become accustomed to will only be used if there is a threat outside the building. If the threat is inside the building, the traditional lockdown will cease to exist. Under the current way of doing things, during a traditional lockdown, students and staff are easy targets for an armed gunman. Under the ALICE plan, if students and teachers feel it’s safer to stay in their rooms than try to escape, they would be expected to barricade themselves in the classroom using desks and chairs. Another important change is that cell phones and other communication technology will be constantly used in order to keep everyone up to date. If at all possible, the location of an attacker will be announced live on the school’s PA system. Gone are the days of “tricking” people out of their classrooms. As a matter of fact, drills using the new protocols will be announced in advance and the element of surprise will be mitigated as much as possible.
More information will be coming directly from Mr. Galligan during individual grade level assemblies next Monday, October 27. In addition to words from administration, a student-produced video about the new changes will be shown. Some time in early November the entire school will practice new ALICE protocols during class. Changes in protocols are coming to Hanover and they will really be for the best of everyone.
See below for YouTube video made by Mr. Patch’s video production class that summarizes the key aspects of the ALICE philosophy.