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Hiawatha School District 426 to train staff for school shooter

October 20, 2016

KIRKLAND – Hiawatha School District 426 plans to implement new emergency procedures for scenarios involving school intruders or shooters with a training program Friday.

District 426 will be utilizing a new strategy for lockdown procedures that is known as the Alert, Lockdown, Counter, Evacuate plan.

It will replace the standard procedure of locking the door, moving students to a part of the room where they cannot be seen and quietly remain until an “all clear” announcement is provided, according to a news release from the district.

“This strategy relies on the use of technology and information in a way that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis,” Superintendent Chip Hickman said in a news release. “The main idea is to move as many people as possible from the danger zone and provide realistic training, so that those involved in the crisis have a better chance of surviving.”

While the subject can be difficult to talk about, Hickman said safety is the top priority for the district.

He said that the ALICE approach is “dramatically different” from the district’s existing protocol.

“The reality is that we need to have a contingency plan,” he said.

The district serves 580 students in two schools. The program originally was evaluated in the 2015-16 school year and will be provided training by a certified ALICE instructor from the Kirkland Police Department. The Lions Club of Kirkland bought supplies, including facilitation equipment, that will allow for realistic simulation and a safe environment for staff to practice.

Hickman praised the work of the Lions Club and the police.

“In a community like ours, those partnerships are essential,” he said.

The staff will be trained Friday as part of a professional learning program. The training will include gunshots, Hickman said.

The district will begin planning to involve students in future drills, but it was important to train the staff first, he said.

The release included this overview:

• Alert: Sound an alarm of the situation at hand and call the police. Information of the situation should be provided by all means possible including the public address system. (example; intruder in hallway C).

• Lockdown: Doors should be locked to provide a time barrier and give students and teachers time to recognize the threat. If they are not in the danger zone, they should evacuate immediately.

• Inform: If possible keep teachers, students and police up to date on the intruders location inside the school.

• Counter: Interrupt the physical act of the shooting. If the intruder walks into a classroom or hall and you have no escape route, use all means necessary to protect yourself and others. If the intruder can be overpowered by multiple people; swarm the intruder and detain.

• Evacuate: We want as many people away from the scene as possible. During the alert state or any other stage, the first option should be to evacuate.