The Canton (MA) school board and superintendent on Thursday rejected moving forward with training students to attack armed intruders under what a Boston Globe article called a “controversial new security protocol” known as A.L.I.C.E. training.
“We are not ready to go beyond the point of training staff,” the Globe quoted Superintendent Jeffrey Granatino as saying at the Canton School Committee meeting. The article says Granatino stressed that the district is “under no time constraint” to implement the A.L.I.C.E. program as only staff had quietly received the training before questions arose from school board members who apparently were unaware of the program being implemented in their district.
A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate. The “counter” component of teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders has generated concerns from experienced school safety professionals, parents, and others.
In an earlier Globe article, parent Suzanne Hegland, a Canton mother and an assistant dean of students at the New England Conservatory, reportedly told the Globe that telling students to toss staplers, books, and other items at an armed intruder is “absurd.” Hegland blogged on A.L.I.C.E. training in a recent article for the Huffington Post, where she is a contributor.
“I would make the argument that we all need to be comfortable,” school board chairman John Bonnanzio was quoted as saying. He reportedly said school board members and others need to know how the protocol works and that it would be introduced to children in an age-appropriate manner.
The town’s police chief and a school resource officer encouraged the board to adopt the program.
Advocates for A.L.I.C.E. training have recently stepped up efforts to encourage some schools to adopt the program. However, the vast majority of schools across the nation do not provide A.L.I.C.E. training and a number have said they would not even consider doing so.