Parent questions: ALICE Training & teaching kids to fight gunmen

Posted by on November 28, 2011

 

Most of us who are parents agree that safety is more important than academics at our schools.  We entrust educators with our children for a good chunk of time each school day.  We demand that they take reasonable steps to protect our kids, and expect that they use good common sense in doing so.

Yet many parents, public safety officials and educators question whether school and police officials advocating to teach students to attack armed intruders meet the “reasonable” and “common sense” aspects of parental expectations.

In Loco Parentis delegates temporary, not permanent, parental power

The legal concept of in loco parentis means “in place of the parent.” School officials certainly have a temporary delegation of parental power while children are in their custody during the school day.  But in loco parentis does not grant educators a permanent and involuntary reduction of parental liberties.

Parents can and should have a voice in limiting the scope of power delegated to school officials in certain areas impacting their child. Parents can certainly demand accountability from the temporary caretaker of their child.

In short, parents do not relinquish their primary right to make decisions regarding the best interests of their child simply because educators enjoy in loco parentis authority through the necessity created by mandated school attendance.

One of those areas where parents can and should have a voice is in the safety of their children.  They especially should have a voice and a choice when educators and/or safety officials propose teaching and directing students to act in a manner which the natural parents believe could increase the risk of harm to their children.

What parents should ask about ALICE Training and schools teaching kids to fight gunmen

In my blog post entitled Bringing Pencils & Books to a Gun Fight; ALICE Training Raises Questions, I joined a number of educators, public safety officials and parents who challenge those who propose teaching K-12 school kids to bombard armed gunmen with books, backpacks, desks, etc.  This action is part of what is sometimes referred to as A.L.I.C.E. (Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate) Training, a program being advocated in a small but noticeable number of school-communities.

In that article and on my web page on Teaching School Students to Fight Gunmen, I raise a number of questions parents and others should ask on aspects of this proposed training of students including on:

  • Age appropriateness and developmental factors;
  • Considerations and implications for special needs students;
  • Qualifications of the instructors and methods of instruction of this training; and
  • Liability of the trainers and the agencies involved (school district, law enforcement agency, etc.)

among many other concerns.

Parents should not only ask questions, they should do so formally in writing and if not resolved at the administrative level, ask them at public school board meetings.  Some steps parents could take if such a program is being proposed or is already in place in their child’s school include:

  1. Ask for a written copy of the school board’s formal policy and all school district regulations, procedures, etc. related to the ALICE Program (where this specific program is proposed) or similar programs under a different name where teaching kids to fight armed intruders is being proposed;
  2. Request a written copy of the entire curriculum and training materials used to train-the-trainers and to train students;
  3. Request copies of all public records (memos, emails, correspondence, etc.) between school officials and law enforcement agencies related to the planning and implementation of the training program;
  4. Ask for written notification from all agencies (school district, police department, etc.) and specific trainers/employees who are accepting by-name liability for the implementation and potential ramifications of the program;
  5. Request a copy of legal opinions and findings obtained by school board members and administrative officials regarding implementation of such training programs.  If they refuse to provide legal documents, they still should be asked whether or not such an opinion was formally requested and obtained;
  6. Ask for opt-out policies and related documents available to parents who do not wish for their children to participate in such training, and copies of specific procedures governing what happens with those who opt-out; and
  7. Ask your school’s parent organization (PTA, PTO, PTU, etc.) if they are aware of the proposed training program and if they support it.

This list could go on.  As I start probing with such records requests, I fully expect most school boards to have no formal policies and many board members may not even be aware of the full liability implications of such training. But a closer look at the above and related documents, or the absence of such internal analysis and planning documents, should help parents begin to better understand what some officials are teaching their children to do.

I increasingly wonder whether parents are being given the full story in those districts pursuing these program.  In fact, some of the specific cases I have seen to date suggest parents may be told nothing or only part of the aspects of this training in a sugar-coated manner.  Parents deserve full disclosure with discussion of the proposed new approach and its associated risks.

At least now parents know some specific questions they can start asking and public records they can request to make informed decisions.

Ken Trump

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22 thoughts on “Parent questions: ALICE Training & teaching kids to fight gunmen

  1. Lt. Gary Kong says:

    I am a retired law enforcement officer, and currently a middle school teacher. I am also a trained and certified A.L.I.C.E. instructor. I understand your concerns and apparent objection to teaching unarmed schoolkids to actively engage, attack, and active shooter who has gotten into the classroom intent on killing. However, I am still a strong advocate of ALICE. While “liability” will be a post-action issue, it will ALWAYS be an issue regardless of what a school does or does not do.

    I started teaching police officers “Active Shooter – Rapid Response” tactics in the academy prior to retiring and becoming a teacher. Now I teach students and school staff members ALICE. I tried to analyze situations and solutions from a tactical standpoint before embarking on ALICE, and could not come up with a viable and survivable alternative once a gunman has entered the room. I practiced with other cops, and then with students (using dummy guns, foam books and classroom objects, etc.) and having the students essentially assault me always worked. In the end, they always overpowered me.

    As a parent and teacher, I totally comprehend your objections to ALICE. Parents should ask questions, but not just about ALICE type strategies, but about ALL alternatives offered. If the school relies 100% on “lockdown and wait for the cops” a parent should ask what the school suggests students do when the gunman has breached the door and the cops are still five minutes out. Parents should ask about legal responsibilities and liability of a school regardless of what mitigation plan, or the absence thereof, is endorsed.

    Sure, John Wayne would say not to get into a gunfight with a knife … or a pencil, or a book BUT he probably wouldn’t say to sit or huddle while waiting to be shot. Hearing sirens in the background will not drown out the sound of gunfire or the screams of children being shot. ALICE is not for all ages, I teach an evasion protocol to younger students. My entire point is, don’t just sit and wait for your turn to be shot. Even the US government (DHS, Dept. of Education, etc.) are advising on victims to take an active response role against active shooters when lockdowns, etc. have failed.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, Lt. Kong. I certainly respect your decision to share your position as an ALICE trainer and apparent trainer/consultant service provider in this area to schools (http://schoolshield.org/).

      You referenced the liability questions and liability is certainly one concern. But it seems to be the one area ALICE advocates push back on when others like me object to the approach with ALICE and related training. Liability is a legitimate concern, as we point out, in both what is done and what is NOT done in school safety.

      To that point, I raised many other issues about ALICE type training that I see unanswered by most who question those in our field (which includes educators, law enforcement officers, school safety professionals, parents, and others) who challenge what many ALICE advocates propose. These include, but are not limited to, age-appropriateness, special needs students, MOUs between law enforcement and school districts jointly implementing this training, depth of information and opt-out options for parents, training qualiifications and experience in K-12 settings, and the training content, duration and reinforcement — just to name a few.

      I have seen the ALICE training manual and a number of cases where it is proposed for implementation in schools. Quite frankly, while it may not be the case with your school and how you implement it, what I consistently see elsewhere is major gaps in considering and addressing the above and related issues.

      I would be interested in hearing some details about your specific method of instruction including, but not limited to:

      1) What is the length of each training session, number of sessions, number and length of reinforcement and ongoing training sessions, etc. you provide as a standard implementation of ALICE at your school?

      2) What parent introductions to the program have been provided (in-person discussions, in-writing, etc.)?

      3) What opt-out options has your district provided to parents?

      4) Does your district have a written board policy and regulations, standard operating procedures, standard approved curriculum for ALICE, etc.?

      5) What is your district’s policy and procedure for selecting which grade levels are and are not provided ALICE training?

      6) How does your district address each type of special need population in those grade levels in which you provide ALICE training, i.e., medically-fragile, autistic, physically challenged, behavior disorders, etc.?

      7) Has your district conducted a formal legal review of the ALICE approach, liability of yourself and school instructors, additional insurance coverage needs, etc. via its district legal counsel?

      For the sake of time there are other implementation details that would be of interest, but this is a good start to perhaps enlighten readers on how you implement ALICE in your schools.

      I understand the emotional appeal ALICE advocates tend to advance to support their program, i.e., “Hearing sirens in the background will not down out the sound of gunfire or the screams of children being shot,” and “…don’t just sit and wait for your turn to be shot,” as you used in your email. At the same time, those who do not support ALICE could also cite as many, if not more, incidents where gunmen were in a school situation and did NOT shoot due to non-ALICE responses by school personnel.

      You referenced that, “Even the US government (DHS, Dept. of Education, etc.) are advising on victims to take an active response role against active shooters when lockdowns, etc. have failed.” I am aware that DHS has put out a general guide on active shooters for the general public with a workplace type setting focus, but it is not preK-12 school-specific. Do you have a specific reference to a preK-12 school-specific DHS document advocating for ALICE type training specific this setting?

      Also, could you provide the specific reference to the US Department of Education documents you point to in your email as recommending victims take an actie response role against active shooters when lockdowns, etc. have failed? I have not seen such a document or guidance from US Department of Education.

      I certainly respect and appreciate you sharing your difference of opinion. Such dialogue is good for the advancement of school safety. While I disagree with the ALICE approach and implementation in preK-12 settings, I do so in a respectful manner and appreciate the way you did so as well.

      Regards,

      Ken Trump

  2. Curt says:

    Ken:

    Having served 28+ years as a police officer and both served as an SRO and SRO Supervisor I have weighed in on this debate a numer of times including recently here in Tampa, Florida. I have yet to find a good example of where this training has prevented a shooting where a school shooter began assasinating children and the remainder of the children either escaped of got the shooter to flee due to their actions. I have conducted lockdown drills, evacuation drills, on-campus fights and can never imagine children having a perfectly timed response to an armed shooter come off with perfection. As a parent, my child’s school better never deploy this training. Just my 2 cents!

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for your feedback, Curt. The vast majority of educators and school-experienced law enforcement officers I have talked with about this proposed approach consistently share the opinion you, I, and a number of others have voiced in opposition to it.

      I look forward to hearing the responses to some of the specific questions I have posed. Perhaps they will enlighten me on some aspects I have not considered in formulating my opinion. A lot of ideas can sound good emotionally, but as we know, the devil is always in the details of implementation.

      To date, what I have seen in the proposed and actual steps toward implementation have been very concerning. Like you, it is not something I would want to see in my child’s school. And that is exactly my point: Parents need to be fully informed and aware of the options they have to ask questions, and to be able to oppose proposed questionable measures they and experienced experts in the school safety field believe could put their children at risk, etc.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Ken

  3. Gary says:

    I am preparing a lengthy response to your lengthy inquiry, Mr. Trump.

    To all readers, please don’t get me wrong. ALICE is not the only answer, there is no magic there, it is simply one of many options dependant upon the situation. In SWAT, we train planners to do PACE Planning which means:

    Primary (plan), Alternate, Contingency, Exigent. If one plan fails, you have plan B, plan C, etc. In the world of an active shooter in the classroom, ALICE is one option for consideration.

    For those who simply dismiss ALICE or ALICE-type options, what are the alternatives when the only people in the room are the teacher, the students and the active shooter and escape is no longer an immediately viable option?

  4. Gary says:

    Hi Mr. Trump,

    Thank you for your meaningful response and thoughtful questions. First off, my comments are my own personal opinions based on my own experiences. They are not to be considered advice, training information, etc. and I am not responsible for any organization or persons who act upon my comments. I am merely responding to your inquiries. As with any concept or practice, there are many sides and opinions to an issue and in the realm of school safety, there is no magical bubble that will always protect our kids.

    I know that there is no ideal solution to the threat of an active shooter in a classroom environment. With the inherently fluid dynamics typical of violent situations, there is no way to create a “one solution solves all” protocol. Clearly, “Lockdown and Wait” may be the ideal choice in some situations whereas “Jump Up and Do Something” may win the day in others. I am not advocating active resistance as the do-all, be-all, all-the-time response. It is simply an option which, under correct circumstances, may save more lives than other options.

    “You referenced the liability questions and liability is certainly one concern. But it seems to be the one area ALICE advocates push back on when others like me object to the approach with ALICE and related training. Liability is a legitimate concern, as we point out, in both what is done and what is NOT done in school safety.”

    Agreed. Whatever a school, emergency responders, medical personnel do regardless of established “best practices” there will be the hordes of lawyers descending in the aftermath. Do something, nothing, the right thing, the wrong thing … lawsuits will be filed. However, even the DOE has recommended that schools not forego training students to get involved in emergency training for fear of litigation.

    “To that point, I raised many other issues about ALICE type training that I see unanswered by most who question those in our field (which includes educators, law enforcement officers, school safety professionals, parents, and others) who challenge what many ALICE advocates propose. These include, but are not limited to, age-appropriateness, special needs students, MOUs between law enforcement and school districts jointly implementing this training, depth of information and opt-out options for parents, training qualifications and experience in K-12 settings, and the training content, duration and reinforcement — just to name a few.
    I have seen the ALICE training manual and a number of cases where it is proposed for implementation in schools. Quite frankly, while it may not be the case with your school and how you implement it, what I consistently see elsewhere is major gaps in considering and addressing the above and related issues.
    I would be interested in hearing some details about your specific method of instruction including, but not limited to:”

    “1) What is the length of each training session, number of sessions, number and length of reinforcement and ongoing training sessions, etc. you provide as a standard implementation of ALICE at your school?”

    As a presenter, you probably understand that often a training program’s duration is driven by the organization/group being trained. Sometimes the trainer can set the duration, but often the trainees offer a time limit. For teachers, I can do an introduction in one hour. Actual hands-on practical skills training takes longer and at one school was done over an extended period in one hour increments. If left up to me, I would like a one hour introduction course, then a one day practical skills course and at the beginning of each new school year, a 1 or 2 hour refresher course. Some courses will be based on the physical layout of the school itself. One school I taught ALICE to was a converted shopping mall so it was a labyrinth that was originally designed for retail sales (lots of glass, open areas, etc.).

    “2) What parent introductions to the program have been provided (in-person discussions, in-writing, etc.)?”

    At one school, at “Back to School Night” (inc. “New To The School”), safety programs inc. ALICE are described. The ALICE program is incorporated into the school’s written “Emergency Response Plan” which covers scraped knees to evacuations to School Shooters. A redacted version (leaving out tactically sensitive details) is posted online for parents on the school’s website.

    “3) What opt-out options has your district provided to parents?”

    Both students and parents can opt out, attendance for students in the ALICE training is 100% optional and voluntary. The entire class need not participate. It is anticipated that in true emergencies, a certain percentage of students and even the teacher may do nothing. Overall emergency training inc. fire drills, earthquake drills, etc. often takes the adults (teacher/s) out of the loop to simulate a teacher being a victim or freezing or being otherwise unavailable to assist. Students learn not to be totally dependent upon an adult (degree varies with grade level).

    I teach ALICE in a manner that does not require 20-30 kids plus teacher(s) to have the composure to simultaneously distract and attack me. I’m a big guy and it only takes 5 or 6 middle school kids to knock me down (maybe less with a teenage adrenalin rush) and immobilize me. If only 1/2 the kids engaged, I have no chance.

    “4) Does your district have a written board policy and regulations, standard operating procedures, standard approved curriculum for ALICE, etc.?”

    Yes and no. Depends on the school, school district, etc. as I have taught more than one. Normally I present the PowerPoint presentation and printed literature to a school’s administration prior to training. See item # 2 above. A school may incorporate their active shooter response policy within their school / school district’s emergency response plans which, by definition, are actually policies. I recently proposed ALICE training to an out of state school, which has initially embraced the concept. That school’s administrators have to get district approval. We’ll see if it flies, sometimes a district likes the concept, but they can certainly disagree with it and disapprove it. Codification of an ALICE based response varies in my experience, but I’m only one provider.

    “5) What is your district’s policy and procedure for selecting which grade levels are and are not provided ALICE training?”

    Again, depends of the school, school district. In my most recent program for K-12, I asked for input from the elementary school principal and the grade specific teachers. It was largely based on teacher input, my first hand knowledge, and discussion with other people involved in school safety. For this particular program K-6 were not taught the “counter” component of ALICE. It was more on how to lockdown and barricade, hide, create improvised/expedient “cover and/or concealment” areas, escape and evasion, etc. For the primary schools, I introduced it as a “mean dog on the loose” to explain the lockdown phase. At another school’s training they had a nursery and a pre-K component. The thought of babies throwing their bottles of milk and teething rings at a gunman only briefly crossed my mind. 🙂

    Remember, what I might recommend or endorse does not always translate into what the district might turn into a policy. In one case, I did the practical training, the school did their own P&P without my input (beyond what I provided in training).

    “6) How does your district address each type of special need population in those grade levels in which you provide ALICE training, i.e., medically-fragile, autistic, physically challenged, behavior disorders, etc.?”

    Depends on which school(s) but clearly there will be a diverse range of skill sets, knowledge and abilities during an emergency. As cops, we sometimes see the most highly trained and technically skilled officers freezing and losing it in a real world emergency. Same with ALICE, I know that there are people who will be unable to move due to panic or infirmity. I know some people may create a secondary problem due to panic, injury, disability, inability to process, etc.

    All educational institutions should be familiar with, and have policies in compliance with:

    U.S. Executive Order # 13347, Individuals with Disabilities in Emergency Preparedness

    Section 504, Rehabilitation, Comprehensive Services, and Developmental Disabilities Act

    Americans with Disabilities Act

    When teaching “Active Shooter-First Responder” at the police academy, we instructed officers that they might be confronted with injured, panicked, hysterical individuals including bloodied children and that they would have to ignore all of them to continue on their primary mission which was to locate and neutralize the threat. The old military doctrine of wounding one soldier to reduce the threat by three (victim + two soldiers carrying him) sadly may apply to an evasion scenario. Would two students fleeing a room with a shooter be willing to risk themselves to carry a wounded or disabled classmate? Or, would they be better off saving themselves and hope that first responders arrive in time? Again, no hard and fast rules. Depends on circumstances.

    As teachers, we are all briefed on students with disabilities and allergies, special needs, etc. Would students help a wheelchair confined classmate? My crystal ball burned out decades ago but I would like to think that an evacuation NOT UNDER FIRE would accommodate those with mobility handicaps. UNDER FIRE? I don’t make that call, it would be an onsite, real time call by the participants.

    “7) Has your district conducted a formal legal review of the ALICE approach, liability of yourself and school instructors, additional insurance coverage needs, etc. via its district legal counsel? For the sake of time there are other implementation details that would be of interest, but this is a good start to perhaps enlighten readers on how you implement ALICE in your schools.

    At least at the schools I am familiar with, the school administration, legal folks and the school workers’ compensation, risk management, insurance underwriters, etc. receive a copy of the ALICE protocols and the school P&P’s and/or Emergency Response Plans that they are incorporated into. In one case, the local PD sent their school safety officer to present his department’s Active Shooter plan for the school, and my ALICE program was referenced. Some schools have a designated emergency coordinator, safety manager, etc. and, if so, I run everything by and through them. In one case, I trained a school’s administrator / safety guy and he did the training for his own school.

    I think that history has shown that regardless of what was done or not done, the lawyers descended like vultures in the aftermath of any incident of school violence resulting in injury or death.

    “I understand the emotional appeal ALICE advocates tend to advance to support their program, i.e., “Hearing sirens in the background will not down out the sound of gunfire or the screams of children being shot,” and “…don’t just sit and wait for your turn to be shot,” as you used in your email. At the same time, those who do not support ALICE could also cite as many, if not more, incidents where gunmen were in a school situation and did NOT shoot due to non-ALICE responses by school personnel.”

    Agreed, on all points, but we may need to clarify your definition of “gunmen.” Is this any person on campus with a gun in possession (including in a backpack, concealed under clothing, etc.) or specifically someone with a gun in hand and threatening or shooting? A “gunman” is not necessarily an “active shooter” and ALICE primarily addresses “active shooter” situations.

    I don’t know of any specific, science based or even anecdotally based correlation between incidents of a person on campus with a gun and actual active shootings. We know that guns are intercepted or found on campuses all the time, with no direct threats or shooting involved. We also know that there have been instances where physical intervention has stopped shooters (albeit not necessarily with an ALICE type protocol). In some cases a teacher(s) will simply grab a shooter, in one case students dog piled a shooter while he was reloading.

    Whether or not a person is firing, stopping the shooting or potential shooting is the goal. If someone sees someone with a gun concealed on campus but is not shooting, Lockdown, 911, possibly Escape and Evade, etc. are great options. I might be disinclined to recommend a dog pile by students at this time if the gun is not brandished.

    “You referenced that, “Even the US government (DHS, Dept. of Education, etc.) are advising on victims to take an active response role against active shooters when lockdowns, etc. have failed.” I am aware that DHS has put out a general guide on active shooters for the general public with a workplace type setting focus, but it is not preK-12 school-specific.

    Do you have a specific reference to a preK-12 school-specific DHS document advocating for ALICE type training specific this setting?”

    The DHS document you reference, I believe, was a 2008 publication. Your are correct in that it is not pre K through 12 specific. It was, like most government documents, non specific to the point of being vague and therefore open to interpretation. It was neither inclusive nor exclusive of Pre K through 12 but it has been presented at a statewide teachers’ convention at the state capitol within the context of being applicable to schools, and the document has been distributed to both businesses and schools.

    “Also, could you provide the specific reference to the US Department of Education documents you point to in your email as recommending victims take an active response role against active shooters when lockdowns, etc. have failed? I have not seen such a document or guidance from US Department of Education.”

    More than one, including the Law Enforcement / DOE analysis which states,

    “Resolving the Attack
    Finding

    Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most attacks were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.

    Explanation
    Most school-based attacks were stopped through intervention by school administrators, educators and students-or by the attacker stopping on his own. In about one-third of the incidents, the attacker was apprehended by or surrendered to administrators, faculty, or school staff (27 percent, n=10) or to students (5 percent, n=2). In just over one-fifth of the incidents, the attacker stopped on his own or left the school (22 percent, n=8). In a few incidents, the attacker killed himself during the course of the incident (13 percent, n=5).

    Just over one-quarter of the incidents were stopped through law enforcement intervention (27 percent, n=10). Law enforcement personnel discharged weapons in only three of the incidents of targeted school violence studied (8 percent, n=3).
    Close to half of the incidents were known to last 15 minutes or less from the beginning of the shooting to the time the attacker was apprehended, surrendered or stopped shooting (47 percent, n=16).24 One-quarter of the incidents were over within five minutes of their inception (27 percent, n=9). The fact that it was not through law enforcement intervention that most of the targeted school violence incidents studied were stopped appears in large part to be a function of how brief most of these incidents were in duration.”

    There are others buried in my volumes of documents on the matter and I will email you the references or links as they emerge. The other was a document circulated to schools regarding the involvement of students in all stages of emergency planning, response, mitigation and restoration from DOE.

    “I certainly respect and appreciate you sharing your difference of opinion. Such dialogue is good for the advancement of school safety. While I disagree with the ALICE approach and implementation in preK-12 settings, I do so in a respectful manner and appreciate the way you did so as well.
    Regards,
    Ken Trump”

    When I was a lieutenant, we couldn’t always get two police commanders to agree on what tactics needed to be employed by officers and as a teacher I have seen school administrators totally disagree over school matters. That there are diverse theories on how best to protect our students is no surprise and the disagreements may ultimately motivate more research into solutions.

    We may agree to disagree, but our goals are in sync.

    Respectfully, Gary

  5. D. Jones says:

    Primal instincts arise when serious danger is presented. Fight or flight. If I can’t flee, then my instinct to fight will take over. I know that if my kids were about to be shot, stabbed, killed that they would fight for their lives and not just lay there and give the killer what he or she wants and expects. ALiCE seems to be just giving recommendations/other options to allow staff and students to go with their instincts to help increase the chances of survival. We all know that statistically traditional lockdown has a high death toll. It’s time to provide more options. I don’t quite understand why there is such a list of legal questions. There should only be these simply questions in all: Do you want your children to get away from serious danger? If they can’t, do you want them to fight for their lives when faced with a deadly threat or do nothing? If we do nothing every time, we definitely lose 100% each time. If we use the other options, at least there’s a chance to survive.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Dear Mr/Ms Jones,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion.

      Indeed, primal instincts include fight or flight. You certainly raise another good point in what YOUR children will do, which is your choice and then your corresponding responsibility to teach them accordingly. There is a big difference between your parental decisions and responsibilities, and the school taking on the responsibility and accountability for providing such training to children in preK-12 settings.

      You state: “We all know that statistically traditional lockdown has a high death toll.” Can you cite the reference source you base that conclusion on? Your implication is that lockdown causes a high death toll, and I would have to take issue with that statement. But I am open to considering the data and referenced source you can provide for the statement.

      You also state there is a list of legal questions. Not so. I recognize advocates for ALICE tend to zero in on those who oppose by focusing on the liability questions opponents raise. But a closer look shows the majority of issues and questions I raise are focused on implementation related, not simply legal in nature.

      Poor implementation certainly raises legal questions, but it also raises more important issues related to quality and effectiveness. To date, I continue to consistently see the advocacy points for ALICE focused on emotional issues (Do you want them to fight for their lives when faced with a deadly threat or do nothing?”) but failing to focus on how the concept is implemented. As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out,” and from reading the ALICE manual and listening to what advocates say and don’t say about implementation, at best I can say the segment on teaching students to fight armed gunmen is extremely weak on implementation considerations and discussions.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. I would be interested in hearing if you are law enforcement officer, educator or ALICE-affiliated, or if your perspective is based solely on reading the posts and having no background in the area.

      Regards,

      Ken

  6. Lt. Gary Kong says:

    ***May I suggest to those who have not actually seen the ALICE training first hand, that they check it out prior to a rush to judgement that it is “garbage” or otherwise not a potentially life-saving option? I have not seen or thoroughly read what Mr. Trump advocates or trains schools to do in the event of an active shooter who has gotten into the room leaving unarmed students (and the teacher/s) to deal with him, so I am not able to accurately or fairly assess its efficacy. Hence, I have not commented, in a positive or negative manner, on his methods. I haven’t seen it so I can’t judge it.
    ***
    ***Those contemplating strategies to deal with a “shooter in the room” should stand in a classroom and imagine an active shooter in there. Imagine it is on the third floor so escape through a window is not advisable. What next? I have no clear idea what Mr. Trump recommends so I cannot comment on his strategies … one should not pass judgement (or condemnation) on a process, proposal or plan unless one is fully familiar with all its aspects. To that end, I invite Mr. Trump to actually attend one of my pro-ALICE school safety presentations. I do not know if he has attended a full ALICE based training, or has spoken to school officials (including school law enforcement / security personnel, administrators, school legal counsel) at those schools or districts which do, in fact, train for and practice ALICE based responses.
    ***Mr. Trump has asked me to answer a wide range of seemingly “loaded” questions related to legal analysis, codification, accountability, etc. and I have done my best to do so. One might ask the same about any emergency response plan at an educational institution, including those that use the techniques advocated by Mr. Trump. I just don’t believe there is a need or benefit in tearing down one option over others, it is up to the school district and their constituents to decide what they think is best for them after careful review and investigation of the available options. What IS important is that schools do something … some schools are still in denial over the possibility of an active shooter on their campus.
    ***To educators out there, whether you prefer ALICE-based options, those advocated by Mr. Trump, any other available strategies, etc. it is important that you acknowledge that an active shooter incident CAN happen on your campus and that you MUST plan for it. In legal mumbo-jumbo it is considered a “Foreseeable Danger” so you should have a plan. I would also advise against getting into bureaucratic “analysis paralysis” and lose valuable time placing your considerations into a “committee black hole” indefinitely.
    ***
    ***
    For the record, I am a trained ALICE instructor but I add some twists of my own based on the uniqueness of each school I train, and sometimes my active shooter training is a component of an overall safety program with fire, earthquake, water, WMD, haz-mat, etc. issues included.
    Mr. Trump, I would very much like to discuss our philosophies with you. My offer is genuine, if you would like to see first hand how I train students and school personnel on how to defend against an active shooter in the room I would welcome your comments, and/or criticism, after you have actually seen my curriculum, my training, the students practicing hands-on, and our live scenario re-enactments using role players inside a classroom. Then, we can have a steak and brew and shoot the bull. You may observe something I don’t see, or have an option which improves my training. Two heads can be better than one, even if both start out seeing different points of view.
    ***
    Be well,

    Gary

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Gary,

      Thanks for your thoughtful and professional response. Please pardon my delay in responding as I wanted to give your response the thorough review and response it deserves instead of a quick comment.

      Additionally, please note that my response referencing “garbage in, garbage out” was not in response to your message. It was an analogy used in response to DJones message specifically to address the idea that just doing something is not adequate. If you don’t do something proper and correctly (I.e., garbage in) then you will get poor results (I.e., garbage out).

      The implementation questions are thus important, not legalese and bureaucratic as some ALICE supporters suggest. I have to wonder if those who summarily dismiss these questions also work in police departments and military units which have no policies, procedures, regulations, legal review and other accountability guidelines on issues such as use of force, deadly force, use of Tasers, police pursuits, firearms training, self defense training, and so on. We all know the answer is that they do, but it seems many others who have written and emailed me (and some who have personally attacked me in doing so) fail to see these implementation questions as legitimate when talking about teaching children to attack armed gunmen.

      Because these indivduals ignore these issues, I have heard a number in education and law enforcement refer to such individuals as “cowboys” or “wannabes” because of their failure to see their importance. This is unfortunate as good people with good intentions may have valid points to advance the discussion but lose credibility by focusing on emotional arguments, personal attacks and warrior talk versus implementation issues (policies, legal reviews, etc) that those with command and leadership experience understand the value of in considering the issue.

      Your thoughtful discussion and professional tone rises above the rhetoric of some others who have opined in the debate. Thank you.

      Your response did raise some points and concerns to me:

      1. I believe we all may be on the same general page or at least in the same book on the areas of emergency response that do not involve teaching kids to attack armed gunmen. It would appear that the bulk of ALICE training (awareness of the potential for an attack, lockdowns, other emergency preparedness best practices) is nothing really new or beyond what has been taught to school and public safety officials for over a decade. While packaged under a new name and marketed as if it is something dramatically new, a good chunk of what you described and I see elsewhere is simply basic school emergency preparedness planning. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not new. What is new and questionable is the component on teaching kids to attack armed gunmen.

      2. We also are in agreement that an incident can occur and denial is not the answer.

      3. You state that the DOE has recommended that schools not forgoe training students to get involved in emergency training for fear of litigation. While DOE certainly does not object to involving students in school safety, I am not aware of DOE specifically referencing the fear of litigation or recommending ALICE (or any similar programs). Can you cite any US DOE documents supporting specifically ALICE or similar training? Perhaps I missed it.

      4. I agree with you that training time in schools is limited. This is exactly why I have a major concern about ALICE training. You referenced giving a one hour of introduction training and at ONE school was done in hour increments over time. You did not mention total training hours in that one case and your response was rather vague on specific total hours.

      This is consistent with what I have seen in districts and communities where ALICE has been implemented or is considered for implementation. I also know the realities of schools today and the extent of training for in essence what is a self defense training is inadequate. I don’t know of any police departments that give their officers one hour of training or even just a couple hours here and there on self defense, firearms training, etc.

      But it seems asking questions or raising questions on the training length, duration, etc on attacking armed intruders in ALICE is considered by some ALICEsupporters as legalese and bureaucratic. It is not. They are good administration, implementation, and management questions, and while they may seem irrelevant to the majority of proponents who are front-line, non-management experienced, they are necessary elements of a high-risk, high-liability approach as advocated by ALICE and similar programs calling to actively teach physical self defense and attack tactics to children.

      5.You indicated that at a “Back to School Night” safety programs including ALICE are described and a redacted version is posted online for parents on the school’s web site. You indicated that parents and students can opt out.

      It is good to see that parents and students can opt out. But a “Back to School Night” certainly does not cover all parents, many who will not attend. What about the rest of the parents? How are they notified? In writing and with detials?

      This also raises another set of questions as to how detailed the information provided to them is about what will be taught on attacking armed gunmen, how detailed and clear (in writing) the opt-out option is provided proactively versus waiting for students and parents to raise the issue, etc. I have either not seen that level of detail in specific cases to date, and it appears as though there is almost a sugar-coating of the risks and downplaying of the training of kids to attack gunmen in terms of how it is presented to parents. Or worse, there is no consideration and open discussion of it at all.

      6. You also indicated that, “I teach ALICE in a manner that does not require 20-30 kids plus teacher(s) to have the composure to simultaneously distract and attack me. I’m a big guy and it only takes 5 or 6 middle school kids to knock me down (maybe less with a teenage adrenalin rush) and immobilize me. If only 1/2 the kids engaged, I have no chance.” You later indicate that, “clearly there will be a diverse range of skill sets.”

      This raises a number of questions including, but not limited to:
      a) Would you train only a part of a SWAT or similar tactical team to respond and hope that the right people decide to step up at the right time?
      b) Your students have advance knowledge of you personally, what you are going to do, that you won’t actually hurt them, etc. What is the impact when the gunman/gunmen are real, they have fired actual shots, they are pointing the gun at the kids, and perhaps they have even shot one before the kids who decide to attack can attack? Surely you wouldn’t expect the same reaction and response capabilities from children and teens under those conditions? (Nor, in my opinion, should anyone attempt to train children under such hypothetical conditions.)
      c) While you recognize the wide range of “diverse range of skill sets” at the same time you indicate minimal hours of training. This is totally opposite of what military and police tactical teams train for yet it seems OK to approach training less skilled, more emotional and less fully developed children?

      7) Your answer about districts having a written board policy and regulations, standard operating procedures, etc. was: “Yes and no. Depends on the school, school district, etc….” and you go on to provide a description that concludes by noting that, “Codification of an ALICE based response aries in my experience, but I’m only one provider.”

      Again, would we have a police department with no policies, procedures, regulations, and formal documentation on self-defense training, use of force protocol, firearms training and use, etc.? Of course not. But flying by the seats of our parents in school districts where some propose teaching kids and/or teachers for an hour or so in typically one-shot deals to attack armed gunmen is OK to do with no written guidelines? Not by my standards and not by what many parents, judges and juries would hold either.

      8) There seems to be a recognition or acknowledgment that the applicability of ALICE to lower grades is not acceptable. The issue of special needs children seems to also be unaddressed and marginally, if at all, considered in ALICE programs at the secondary school level. Again, this is both a safety issue for these populations and an implementation issue that seems to receive little attention, care, concern or incorporation into proposed ALICE programs. This reinforces the objections myself and many others have to ALICE.

      9) Your response to my question about whether formal legal reviews of ALICE, liability of yourself and school instructors, etc. has been addressed talked a lot about reviewing it with school administrators, etc., but in the end the answer to my actual question appears to be, “No.” Again, this is a concern.

      10) You acknowledged that, “We also know that there have been instances where physical intervention has stopped shooters (albeit not necessarily with an ALICE type protocol.” Indeed this is true and based upon my experience over 25 years I would say that most of the time it is by individual adults who have chosen to act and have been able to do so based upon their case-by-case assessment.

      11) I asked you to specifically cite DHS and ED documents supporting ALICE and ALICE-specific type training. You responded by acknowledging, “The DHS document you reference, I believe, was a 2008 publication. Your are correct in that it is not pre K through 12 specific. It was, like most government documents, non specific to the point of being vague and therefore open to interpretation. It was neither inclusive nor exclusive of Pre K through 12 but it has been presented at a statewide teachers’ convention at the state capitol within the context of being applicable to schools, and the document has been distributed to both businesses and schools.”

      You are correct in that, to my knowledge and experience, there is NO federal document or policy endorsing, promoting or recommending that ALICE or any similar programs to teach students to attack armed gunman. Nor have I seen any such formal state policies or recommendations. The fact it was presented at a state conference (presumably in CA) does not indicate a formal policy or recommendation, and for that matter does not fully explain who even presented it and who the presenters recommended. Anyone can present a document at a conference. It does not make it a formal state or federal policy or recommendation.

      So to date, contrary to what many ALICE advocates are misrepresenting, DHS and ED have NOT recommended ALICE or similar techniques for teaching students to right armed intruders. The DHS document is general but has more references and context for workplace settings than anything else, and certainly does not recommend it for preK-12 schools.

      In your follow-up message, Gary, you suggest or imply that I am not familiar with ALICE training. This is not accurate. I have worked in school districts and communities where it has been proposed and also in the process of imiplementation. I have also reviewed the ALICE manual. I have additionally seen public reports on it and have reviewed information seen by advocates such as you. Given this information and other related information, along with my experience of over 25 years specifically in preK-12 settings working on safety, security and emergency preparedness issues, I feel very comfortable with my position and opinions.

      I respect spirited and healthy debates. But when we are talking about putting kids at risk by having educators and police departments actively train them to attack armed intruders, and to do so with minimal training, no policies and written guidelines, and marginal (at best) parental explanation of what is being taught, how it is being taught, and the associated risks, I believe a “let’s try it and see” approach of flying by the seat of our pants and haphazardly implementing it is unacceptable.

      I appreciate much the tone of your messages. Unfortunately, some of your counterparts have been much less adult and professional with personal attacks, which only raises more questions about their personal and professional stability and decision-making for being involved in recommending what I continue to view as a high-risk program.

      Due to time constraints, I will be addressing a few other ALICE issues as the need arises, but overall I believe I have thoroughly documented my concerns. Given the bulk of other pressing issues impacting our field, I need to dedicate some time to covering other hot topics and will not have a great deal of time for in-depth follow-ups like these, but I welcome and encourage additional insights from others on this and other hot topics.

      Happy Holidays and Best Regards,

      Ken

      Ken

      Kenneth S. Trump
      National School Safety and Security Services
      http://www.schoolsecurity.org
      http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

  7. Lt. Gary Kong says:

    Hi Mr. Trump,

    In order to avoid this seemingly back and forth, who said/wrote what, nitpicking and sound biting please let me respond thusly.
    ****
    ****NOTHING contained in the ALICE program is new. I am unfamiliar with your specific protocols, but I imagine there is nothing new there, either. Defense of a person or place has not changed much since people started attacking people. In the realm of DOD (sic) training which is mirrored largely in the para-military structure of civilian police forces is: Direct, Detect, Deter, Delay, Defend, Destroy your attacker. The components of ALICE take historical techniques and arranges them in a specific sequence. For a school, we might change Destroy to Disable but otherwise defending Fort Knox, Command Post Alpha in a hot zone or Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie is all the same to a large degree.
    ****However, in a battle (and an active shooter IN the classroom is a battle, of sorts) going back to caveman days there came a point when the attacked had to fight back against the attacker if nothing else intervened. Caveman Joe might have to pick up a rock and take on Caveman Bob if he was being attacked in his own cave with nowhere to run and no other help.
    ****I do not question your credentials or your success record. As I have stated, there is always room for differing theories. I do not know of a printed federal document that names ALICE with specificity, nor do I know of one that decries or criticizes it or its fundamental concepts. I have not asked you to provide similar referencing to your specific philosophy. This is not a contest, it is not a battle, it is simply a dialog between practitioners of differing processes to achieve a goal. People ask for 2nd and 3rd opinions of MD’s, so clearly they should investigate options with protecting students. I’ve never criticized your practices.
    ****Ever asked a school to look at their legal analysis, administrative policy, insurance underwriter approval, public notification, etc. of something less controversial such as fire drill protocols? How many schools use the historical “Walk slowly in a single file behind the teacher to the assembly point” on a sunny day only because codes require it? Is there a better model? At some schools they disorient the students, blindfold them and then have them crawl to find their way out and block the normal routes to simulate debris. In others, they use a fog machine to simulate smoke. Extreme to some, realistic to others. In any sort of dynamic event, whether military, police or organizational (inc. schools) they will never codify or indemnify (or even identify) every possible contingency or outcome of an unplanned event. If you or I picked up the emergency plans of any given school, I’m sure we could find numerous flaws, oversights, and downright negligence if we wanted to, or we could work with it. Same with ALICE or any other active-shooter response protocol, given the luxury of time and second guessing safety. We can “what if” anything into oblivion, but it merely creates a void. The “COUNTER” component of ALICE is considered a last ditch, all else has failed protocol and one to be avoided if at all possible.
    ****Mr. Trump, I did not “imply” or otherwise convey that you were not familiar with ALICE. You stated you had gone through a manual. I did not notice you commenting on attending or observing an actual training, hence my friendly offer. If you construed this to mean I was accusing you of being, “…not familiar with ALICE training” that was not my intention. I don’t know what your familiarity with ALICE is. I just did not glean from your posting the extent of your knowledge and was simply offering you a first hand look. I apologize if this was not clearly conveyed on my part and I did not intend to minimize your knowledge, not at all.
    ****While no federal government document I’ve seen names ALICE, etc. as being recommended for practice in schools, I likewise have seen no government publication touting hiding in the corner, crouching along the hall, crawling under tables, or any other passive forms of defense against an active shooter in the room.
    ****This, sir, is your website and your blog and I do not mean to tie up your time and resources. My offer stands, if you are in the area and would like to share a table and some conversation you are invited to do so as my guest. We are not adversaries, we are allies from differing armies but we have a common enemy.
    ****May you have a memorable Holiday Season with your loved ones and may you continue to inspire safety awareness within the education community.
    ****Collegially yours,

    ****Gary

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks again, Gary, for your professional response.

      I don’t consider this as you characterized a, “…seemingly back and forth, who said/wrote what, nitpicking and sound biting…,” but instead a professional discussion and debate. And that is exactly one of the purposes of this forum.

      In response to your latest comments:

      1) You state that NOTHING in ALICE is new. I beg to differ. Teaching kids to attack armed gunmen in preK-12 settings is new. More specifically, it is new in that it is being seriously considered and implemented in some schools. A closer look back to its origins around 2006 will show ALICE was proposed but the school district in which it originated as ALICE actually backpedaled and halted the component of teaching kids to attack armed gunmen when the full nature of the program came to full light with parents and in the media.

      2) You state that: “In the realm of DOD (sic) training which is mirrored largely in the para-military structure of civilian police forces is: Direct, Detect, Deter, Delay, Defend, Destroy your attacker. The components of ALICE take historical techniques and arranges them in a specific sequence. For a school, we might change Destroy to Disable but otherwise defending Fort Knox, Command Post Alpha in a hot zone or Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie is all the same to a large degree.”

      Wow, that is a powerful statement. Most importantly, we are NOT talking about Fort Knox or Command Post Alpha. We are talking about preK-12 schools with children and adolescents. Not the DOD (Department of Defense) or the military or the police academy SWAT team. A school with kids. It is NOT “all the same.” And therein lies a key misunderstanding by many ALICE advocates, in my opinion and that of others who oppose ALICE.

      3) I appreciate you acknowledging that “I do not know of a printed federal document that names ALICE with specificity, nor do I know of one that decries or criticizes it or its fundamental concepts.” I believe you are correct that there are no federal documents supporting ALICE in schools, which has been implied and stated by some ALICE advocates.

      4) I agree we can find areas of weakness when evaluating school emergency plans. In fact, this is what we do both for school districts and in litigation support. It is the decades of experience in doing so specifically for preK-12 settings that is the basis for concerns, questions and position on ALICE in preK-12 settings.

      5) You state that we cannot codify or indemnify every possible contingency or outcome of an unplanned event. I believe we also cannot take a Laissez-faire attitude toward major intentional practices related to the safety of children; in this case raising the standard to a higher level of responsibility for implementation consideration. Again, do police departments have no policies, procedures, regulations, ongoing training, etc. for self-defense training, firearms training, use of force, etc.? Of course they do. But many ALICE advocates continue to ignore, dismiss and/or minimize these implementation issues I have raised regarding teaching children to attack armed gunmen.

      6) You stated, “While no federal government document I’ve seen names ALICE, etc. as being recommended for practice in schools, I likewise have seen no government publication touting hiding in the corner, crouching along the hall, crawling under tables, or any other passive forms of defense against an active shooter in the room.” While it may not address your quoted statement verbatim, in general there are more references in federal documents and other best practice literature on lockdowns than there are on ALICE or anything close to it as it relates to teaching children to attack armed gunment. For example, lockdowns are reference on page 31 at http://www2.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/emergencyplan/crisisplanning.pdf:

      Lockdowns are called for when a crisis occurs outside
      of the school and an evacuation would be dangerous.
      A lockdown may also be called for when there is a
      crisis inside and movement within the school will put
      students in jeopardy. All exterior doors are locked and
      students and staff stay in their classrooms. Windows
      may need to be covered. Exhibit 3.1 illustrates the steps
      in determining which action is most appropriate for
      each situation.

      This is not to suggest that lockdowns are the cure all as some ALICE advocates try to falsely paint those who oppose ALICE as overly supporting. My point is simply this, which you acknowledged earlier: Contrary to what is stated and/or implied by some ALICE advocates, the federal government has NOT endorsed ALICE specifically nor has the federal government formally recommended ALICE or similar tactics for preK-12 schools.

      And the fact that the feds have NOT said to NOT do ALICE (a double negative, which makes no sense anyway), does not make ALICE an accepted or sanctioned tactic in preK-12 settings. I have also never seen federal school emergency preparedness documents suggesting NOT to jump off the roof of a four-story school building for fun, but that doesn’t mean that we should advocate doing so.

      Gary, I appreciate your professional tone and debate. I remain resolve in my position and, quite honestly, some of your responses reinforced my concerns about the lack of policies, procedures, legal review, training content and duration, etc. in the implementation of ALICE. It is not within the realm of my responsibility or goal to convince you or other ALICE advocates you are wrong or must stop; but I do feel a professional obligation to voice my concerns and to put those concerns, issues, questions, etc. on the record for school leaders and policy makers to carefully consider and debate in their local school communities.

      I wish you and your family a safe, healthy and peaceful holiday and rewarding new year. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and opinions, and for your professional manner in doing so.

      Regards,

      Ken

  8. Raven says:

    Greetings all,
    I have concerns about this but I think it should be up to the parents whether or not their children learn this. If they choose to allow it so be it, if not hopefully the others will teach them fast enough in the event they should need to know it. There is at least one school I know of where a girl saved students lives for knowing this tactic and the other students that didn’t know died.
    Sure there is a risk with everything and for the school to avoid liability it should have a note signed by those they want to attend the seminar. We have to face the fact one day that our schools are less and less safe by each passing day and personally if I had children I’d want them to know all options available to them. It is someones choice what they’ll do in a moment like this. Hopefully no child will ever have to use this.
    Either way though it should be up to the parents and the school system. Personally though I am okay with A.L.I.C.E. because it’s more knowledge, and having more knowledge makes us more informed. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

      You state that, “There is at least one school I know of where a girl saved students lives for knowing this tactic and the other students that didn’t know died.”

      I would like to know:
      1. What is the name of this school?
      2. Was ALICE Training, specifically, provided at this school and to this girl you referenced?

      I am a bit confused by your post. At the opening, you state that you have concerns. But at the end of your comments, you say that you’re okay with ALICE?

      Thanks again for sharing your opinion.

      Ken

  9. Raven, different one says:

    This has been disappointing at best. I came here to read about this information in the hopes of being enlightened. All I have read so far are bickering and arguments back and forth between two different views.
    Ken, I have not seen your suggestions anywhere. Perhaps they are on another page or something. All you do is question ALICE and its implementation. What do you recommend? What are your trainings? What is your background? etc etc….. What would you change to make something like ALICE a workable model?
    I also have several years in Law Enforcement and Military. I teach Martial Arts and have done so for over a decade. I believe strongly in personal responsibility and taking action when appropriate and necessary to protect myself and others. I can see many benefits to teaching kids how to take action if needed and teaching teachers how to organize that and to work with their
    students.
    The legal questions are for lawyers. What do you suggest in the event that all else has failed, there is not where to go and the guy with the gun just walked into the room? What would you teach them to do?
    You seem to have some very strong opinions so I am interested in your options.
    Thank you.
    Raven

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks again for sharing your opinion, “Raven.”

      Obviously you have a much greater opinion, and perhaps greater connection to the ALICE program and/or its advocates, than represented in your original message submitted under a different email.

      I am sorry you view the blog articles and exchanges as “bickering and arguments back and forth between two different views.” I disagree with your characterization, but to avoid a lengthy response I will point you to other posts on the blog, as well as my web site, for my positions on ALICE, my background, etc., in the event you truly already don’t know the answer.

      ALICE may or may not be popular in your area in Texas, but it is not nationwide. You are right, though, that “legal questions are for lawyers.” Decisions do often end up in litigation, especially when well-intended concepts are poorly thought out and poorly implemented.

      I look forward to your responses to my original questions in response to your first email.

      Ken

  10. Raven, different one says:

    Sorry Ken, this really is a different Raven, same name different person. I live in New Mexico. I have NO affiliation to ALICE, in fact never heard of it until a few days ago. What I am seeing however is your very adamant negative view of it without offering alternatives. Where would I find them? You have strong opinions and I would love to see your data that you ask everyone else for indicating this type of training will NOT be effective. Where is your research and supporting documentation? You include k-12 in this. I believe, having taught school as well, that perhaps some of your view may be appropriate for k-6 but teenagers in middle and high school definitely have the capability to deal with this type of situation with the proper training. I taught PE and as I said teach martial arts and know what a 13 year old is capable of doing physically. Again, what are your suggestions for alternatives? What training would you recommend in place of ALICE? Do you have anything that will train kids how to deal with the situation in the classroom where the active shooter is on site and about to kill them?
    I did look at your website and did not find anything there.
    I have NO affiliation one way or the other but am seeking information. As you ask others give me the facts, not opinion. Why won’t ALICE work? How can it be changed to offer a feasible alternative?
    Truly a different Raven!, and yes it is my real name.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      OK, Raven 2. The reasons why ALICE is inappropriate for a preK-12 environment are outlined in detailed on ALICE-tagged articles on this blog and on the web site (www.schoolsecurity.org). As you suggested in your original email, there is no use repeatedly going back and forth with the same points. See the blog posts and web site for detailed discussions.

  11. Raven says:

    I didn’t think so. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thanks for checking back, Raven 2. I’ve been out training school and safety officials in two states this week on the many, many established and accepted best practices in preK-12 school safety. I also made sure to advise them of the safety and liability risks associated with the fad of ALICE training. I was pleased to see that while there are a few who support ALICE, the majority of them well-intended but having not thought-through the various implementation issues myself and others have raised about understandng of children and how schools work,the vast majority of people agreed it was inappropriate for a preK-12 setting. Thanks again, though, for sharing your opinion. And continue to follow the blog as there are additional ALICE training articles very likely to be forthcoming.

  12. Ken, I recently participated in an NPR Radio Debate with Mr. Crane, who is apparently the founder of the ALICE based training concept and the owner of the company that is out selling this concept to both schools and law enforcement agencies. Again, my background if that of a 25+ year law enforcement executive and former Executive Director/Founder of NASRO and current Executive Director/Founder of the School Safety Advocacy Council. I recently spoke to a very large groupd of school adminstrators in Florida who, like myself, were VERY concerned over just the discussion of the ALICE Training and the majority were very much against the concept. I also echo the feelings of many fellow SWAT Team members who take exception to this type of training to young children. I love the question often asked by proponants of ALICE “What would you suggest as an alternative”?

    Truth is, I would suggest we continue to stress the importance of what we have been doing. Comprehensive Critical incident plans, Well-coordinated testing of the plans and lockdown/evacuation systems, staff training and of course creating and enhancing the law enforcement/school relationships (even in cases where SRO’s do not exist), encouraging greater communication between students and adults. We know that what we have been doing has been VERY effective in terms of preventing several cases of what would have been other Columbine shootings. Our greatest potential lies on stopping these events before they ever get to the classroom door. One important aspect that ALICE Fails to address is that while we are teaching students these “strategies for an active shooter”, is that knowing we would also most likely be training the student who would be the next shooter at the same time. I’d much rather continue focusing on what HAS been proven effective instead of now focusing on an UNTESTED strategy with far too much liability and questions!

  13. Chad says:

    I’ve been doing extensive research on preparing for active shooters in schools, businesses, houses of worship and any other public or private areas. I notice this dialog seems to end on November 19, 2012. One month later more than two dozen kids and adults were massacred at Sandy Hook. I understand the controversy surrounding the Counter step in ALiCE, but unfortunately that’s what it has come to in our society today. I know Mr. Trump has question after question including above wanting a source from the Federal government endorsing ALiCE or philosophies endorsed and trained by ALiCE. Well Mr. Trump here you go http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/rems-k-12-guide.pdf please refer to the last paragraph on page 63. It specifically talks about run, hide, fight. The last sentence on that page states “You can run away from the shooter,seek a secure place where you can hide and/or deny the shooter access, or incapacitate the shooter to survive and protect others from harm.”

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