Safety – ASD’s top priority
Safety is the number one priority for the Anchorage School District. Keeping our students and staff safe requires strategic planning, quick response, and authentic communication. Always a top of the mind issue, the District continues to work and collaborate with our families, the Anchorage Police Department, and the community. In the wake of heightened national threats, ASD formed a new Safety Committee, bringing together District, school, and community stakeholders to address ongoing and emerging safety needs.
According to the Educators School Safety Network, by the end of the 2017–18 school year, across the U.S., there had been at least 3,378 threats of violence in K-12 schools. That was a 62 percent increase over the previous year. In ASD, this fall, we have experienced safety issues of bullying, school threats, bus stop dangers, and community risks. There have been vague, nonspecific threats made which have caused uncertainty, and fear for ASD students, families, and staff. ASD takes every threat of injury, harm, and danger seriously. Staff works diligently to be responsive to parents, families, and community members.
ASD uses the ALICE Training Institute safety program to better prepare students and staff for a violent intruder situation. As students, staff, and our secondary schools conduct mandatory drills (one each quarter), we have increased readiness and understanding of options for safety and survival. The ALICE program provides age-appropriate student safety guidance. National standards, evidence, and data support the ALICE protocol.
Alert – Sound an alarm using plain and specific language. Seconds matter. Use any and all communications means available. Describe the threat in plain language; give location, description, activity and what direction intruder is heading. Call 911 when it is safe to do so.
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.
Inform – Share the 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.
Counter – This is a last resort. Distract the intruder with noise, movement or throwing objects at the intruder in order to create space to evacuate. This is an age-specific response and some may choose not to counter.
Evacuate – This is always the best first choice, if it is safe to do so. Get as many people away from the danger zone to a safe location as quickly as possible. Leave belongings behind and call 911 when it is safe to do so.
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.