Security and Safety
Student and staff safety is the top priority of the Anchorage School District
All ASD schools have comprehensive crisis plans detailing action for an emergency on school grounds. As part of the plan, there are procedures staff and students follow if there is a safety or security issue in the school's immediate neighborhood that could potentially affect students or staff. Emergency drills are practices regularly at every ASD school throughout the year.
The Anchorage School District works closely with the Anchorage Police Department to provide a safe learning and working environment. The two organizations engage in direct communication when an emergency situation occurs at or near a school. School Resource Officers are assigned to district schools. Learn more about the SRO program.
During the 2016-17 school year, the district will train all school staff and students to incorporate additional options and increase their readiness in the event of an active shooter or violent intruder situation.
ASD’s current lockdown procedure will expand to include evacuation and means to distract or counter an intruder as a last resort. Adopting these additional methods will bring district policies and procedures in line with current federal recommendations.
ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) is a training methodology used nationwide. Developed by the ALICE Training Institute, this program provides a combination of online and in-person group scenario training to increase skills and understanding of our options for safety and survival in an active-shooter emergency.
Conversations about school violence are uncomfortable but staff, students and parents must understand all the options our federal agencies recommend and be prepared to respond should an incident happen at an ASD school.
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What does ALICE stand for?
A – Alert: Sound an alarm using plain and specific language to alert others to the danger.
L – Lockdown: Move to a secure location, lock the door and take action to better barricade the room and begin preparing for other strategies if needed, such as evacuate or, as a last resort counter.
I – Inform: Share the violent intruder’s location and direction as often as possible using any means necessary (such as the intercom, handheld radios, text, cell phone or other means) so that everyone on site has access to the information. The goal is that knowledge is the key to survival.
C – Counter: This is a last resort. Interrupt the physical act of the violent intruder by making noise or other distraction with the intent of reducing the intruder’s ability to execute his/her plan. This could mean throwing available objects to hinder the intruder’s aim. This is a last resort when the violent intruder is in the immediate vicinity and individuals are unable to escape.
E – Evacuate: When it is safe to do so, remove yourself from the danger zone. The goal is to get as many people away from the situation as possible. ALICE training provides techniques for safer and more strategic evacuations that will make the need to counter less likely. Individuals are encouraged to always evacuate when possible.
The strategies do not need to be completed in order and should not be considered a checklist. Staff and students will rely on the information at hand and their own judgment to determine the safest course of action.
Frequently asked questions about ALICE
Click on a question to read the answer or use the "Show all answers" link below.
- How is ALICE different than what the district used in the past?
- Federal recommendations, based on extensive research, tell us a lockdown only approach is not enough. Click this link to read more (Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans – June 2013). Lockdown is only one part of an overall response to an active shooter event. The ALICE model helps train and prepare people for an emergency situation to give them the best options for survival.
- What do law enforcement officials recommend?
- Because no single response fits all events, students and staff must know their options and act decisively to select the best course of action. Law enforcement officials, citing national research following school tragedies, recommend the ALICE response, which is becoming widely known as the new “best practice” approach to safety training. Districts nationwide, including many in Alaska, use ALICE as their safety procedure. The Anchorage Police Department and School Resource Officers are aware of and support ASD’s procedures and the ALICE model.
- Does the district expect my student to attack the violent intruder?
- The counter option is a last resort when there is no way to evacuate or lockdown has failed or is not possible. The type counter strategy response will vary depending on the situation and the age of the people in the school. The program is NOT teaching people how to fight or attack.
For younger elementary students, the counter strategy might include yelling or throwing objects to distract the intruder in order to gain time and perhaps evacuate. Discussions with younger students will be an extension of “stranger danger” discussions and focus on listening carefully to the teacher in case of an emergency and understanding what to do. For older students in secondary schools, it may be appropriate to swarm the intruder so the individual cannot move and continue his/her plan.
Students and staff may decide not to counter – this is an individual choice when there are no alternatives. Counter techniques are more effective when they are understood and practiced.
- How will students and staff be trained in these new procedures?
- In the 2016-17 school year, 160 ASD staff will receive intensive training through a two-day train-the-trainer model. Those staff trainers will then teach every ASD employee through a one-hour e-learning session and a 1.5 hour in-person training. In turn, students will introduced to the techniques the teachers and staff have learned. Staff and students will regularly practice the safety procedures throughout the school year, as laid out in each school’s emergency action plan.
- How can families talk to students about emergency procedures?
- Young students need reminders of safe practices in order for them to make good decisions about personal safety. Parents can help their children understand by sharing the following messages at home:
- Most people are good people, but there are some people who can be mean and wish harm on them and others.
- Self-confidence comes from trying things that are hard and getting better each time.
- There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
- When people are prepared for difficult situations, they can make smarter decisions.
- Help children understand their school staff want them to be safe and they hold practice drills so they have a good plan if anything happens.
- Where can I learn more about the ALICE training program?
- Visit www.alicetraining.com for more information about their program and to find statistics and studies of active shooter incidents in the United States.