BOLINGBROOK, IL — A new school safety protocol is being implemented at Valley View School District, one that includes an “options-based approach” to remaining safe in the event of natural disasters and threats of violence. Schools in the district are taking time in the new school year to teach students the new procedure, officials said Tuesday.
The school district is adopting the “ALICE” safety protocol which moves away from the previous best practice, which was to lock down buildings and have students and staff seek shelter in place. ALICE instead allows for more options to seek safety, including “countering” the threat, according to an information video made public by the district.
“ALICE teaches that there are options and solutions beyond holding in place in difficult situations, but individuals must train for these situations in order to make informed decisions should the situation arise,” says a statement from the school district.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. One of the biggest changes in procedure is the “counter,” which officials stress is not fighting off intruders.
Instead, “counter” seeks to distract an intruder from their thought process and disrupt their plan, district safety officials explain in the informational video. (WATCH BELOW) This can be achieved through screaming, running, and teachers of school personnel throwing objects at the intruder.
“ALICE is not fighting off intruders,” the statement reads. “While countering a threat is one of the strategies, the idea of countering is based on creating distractions when directly confronted by a threat, as opposed to passively holding in place.”
District teachers and staff were trained in the ALICE protocol this summer, and the district is now training students, who returned to school Aug. 14.
The new protocol is being implemented in part by Carter Larry, the director of safety and security at Valley View. Larry, a 20 year veteran of the Bolingbrook Police Department, was hired to the post in December 2017,taking over for longtime Valley View staffer and Bolingbrook Deputy Mayor Leroy Brown. Brown died earlier that year at age 73.