School shootings have been a gut-wrenching reality in America in the last decade. Should there ever be a violent incident in the Shelbyville schools, personnel have now been trained to respond by “ALICE,” which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

More than 1.25 million people across the nation have been trained by ALICE to prevent, mitigate, respond to and recover from a violent critical situation.

Shelbyville School District personnel received ALICE training during a school improvement afternoon recently.

“Over 150 district employees, Shelbyville Police Department personnel, as well, as Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies were involved in the ALICE training,” said Shelbyville Superintendent Shane Schuricht.

The training took place during the bi-monthly Wednesday school improvement days, from 11:30 to about 3:15 p.m., according to Schuricht.

The training was led by Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wood. Deputy Justin Dudra was involved, as well as Shelbyville policemen, Joe Houk and Lou Maxedon.

“It was a busy and eventful afternoon,” Schuricht said. It was nice to get teachers and aides, and janitors and cooks and even substitute teachers and staff together all at one time.”

Schuricht explained that it wasn’t mandatory for all the staff, but they showed up anyone.

“They felt that for the safety of themselves and the kids it was important,” Schuricht said. “The more information you get creates a more favorable outcome.”

Shelbyville School District has already done some work in the buildings to provide safety for the students with security systems and hardening the facilities. The next step was to further train personnel in the latest philosophies for reacting to an incident.

“There has been a change of thought,” Schuricht said. “The old response was just to lockdown and for teachers and students to hide and hope for the best. Now it is not to be a sitting duck. Don’t be passive. Be more assertive.”

The first step is to Alert the school of a possible situation. Schuricht said that instead of the teachers having to call the office, they have the ability to alert the entire school themselves and save time.

The next step is Lockdown. Schuricht said that each classroom has the ability to lockdown immediately, individually. If students are in the lunvch room, in the gym, or outside, the best thing for them to do is flee and meet at predetermined rallying points.

Inform is the next step. After alerting the school and locking down to be safe, more information about the situation needs to shared by calling 911 or school and police authorites about what is going on.

Counter may be the most critical changes in this training. After 2 1/2 hours of instruction as a big group, the Shelbyville personnel were divided into smalller groups for training.

“They went to classrooms and were trained in strategies, what to do and what not to do.” Schuricht said. “They were people climbing out of windows.”

In some classrooms have that was an option. in other classrooms it was not.

“Each person needs to use their best judgment based on the information they have. If there is a disturbance at the other end of the school, then evacuate. If personnel are in close proximity to the disturbance, then lockdown and prepare to Counter.”

Counter is the step where personnel and students try to mitigate the damage.

“The triners stressed not to huddle together and make a bigger target, but to spread out,” Schuricht said. “Ifg someone gets in the area where personnel are, they are to try to minimize the damage until police can arrive or try to prolong the process so more people can survive.”

Deputy Wood informed the school personnel being trained of what the expected response time is for Shelbyville Police and Shelby County deputies to respond.

They were given various tactics to frustrate the attacker, including screaming at him, throwing textbooks and other self-defense tactics or rushing the attacker. Every action in self-defense saves lives.

The final part of the ALICE training is Evacuate. That’s when it is safe, the personnel evacuate the building and meet at rallying points.

According to Schuricht, there was a good feeling about the training.

“The teachers had to fill out a survey of the training and their comments were very positive,” Schuricht said. “The next step is to have building meetings to evaluate our procedures in each facility and make decisions about student training.”

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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