Ohio’s Attorney General may be the first state official in the nation to formally instruct teachers and students to attack intruders and school shooters by “throwing objects at the shooter/intruder’s face or person.”
In an entry buried on the 50th page of the Ohio Attorney General’s School Safety/Emergency Operations Plan Template released on Friday, Ohio’s plan under the Lockdown section for teachers instructs that:
“Staff and students may utilize methods to distract the shooter/intruder’s ability to accurately shoot or cause harm, such as loud noises or aiming and throwing objects at the shooter/intruder’s face or person.”
The tactic closely resembles the “Counter” method taught in the controversial ALICE program in which school staff and students are instructed to throw things at, and to attack, armed gunmen in schools.
ALICE training, in particular the Counter component, has come under intense criticism by veteran school safety, school psychology, law enforcement, and other experts.
“ALICE training remains an untested dangerous strategy for schools and students and its hard to imagine the Ohio Attorney General adopting and supporting what school safety experts know is dangerous and will result in students being hurt or worse, killed, ” said Curt Lavarello, Executive Director of the School Safety Advocacy Council in Sarasota, Florida.
Lavarello, a career Florida School Resource Officer (SRO) who co-founded and lead the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), said it is particularly alarming that parents are not being consulted and their permission required before their children are told to attack armed gunmen.
“It’s absolutely incredible that a State Attorney General’s Office is adopting a strategy that will now have Ohio’s classroom students attacking armed gunman in a school without first consulting parents,” said Lavarello.
In a March, 2013, Mother Jones article entitled, “Schools Are Training Second-Graders to Attack Mass Shooters,” veteran school psychologist Dr. Stephen Brock of the National Association of School Psychologists called ALICE training,
“…an overreaction and potentially dangerous.”
The article cited the ALICE staff training booklet in which ALICE’s Counter attack strategy is described by saying:
“While he’s busy ducking and covering his head from our air assault, we can now begin the ground assault.”
ALICE training founder Greg Crane’s controversial past, including his brief tenure in a Texas school district which eventually rejected the controversial Counter attack strategy, was highlighted in the article. Crane also left a Texas police department, where he was a tactical team leader, following a controversial SWAT raid that left a man dead.
The National Association of School Resource Officers also rejected training students to throw items at, and to attack, armed gunmen in a written statement in December of 2012 .
I have also detailed an extensive list of questions and implementation concerns about ALICE training in a series on this blog and on our web site page about ALICE training teaching students to fight gunmen.
The Ohio Attorney General’s School Safety Task Force is heavily stacked with state capitol education, law enforcement, and other professional associations according to the membership list in this report. It will be interesting to see if these associations will formally go on the record endorsing the teaching of students to throw things at, and then to attack, armed gunmen.
Do the professional associations who are part of the AG’s Task Force know this was in their report? Did any education association raise questions or object to the recommendation for kids to attack gunmen? Or did they just let their association’s name be used to garner credibility for them and this report?
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office answer to this question will also be interesting: “Will the Ohio Attorney General provide the legal defense attorneys for school districts and settlement payments to the families of the first student who jumps up, throws an iPod at an armed gunmen, and is shot and killed because they followed the advice of his office to attack school shooters?”