The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 16, 2013

Staying safe in school

ALBIA — Weather emergencies, investigating abuse and even teaching kids to look both ways before crossing the street are all subjects teachers will discuss as they head back to school. Yet it was security of a different sort being rehearsed in Monroe County this week.

Albia Schools Superintendent Kevin Crall discussed the "active shooter" training conducted on school property. But before the Albia Police Department and the Monroe County Sheriff's Department arrived to conduct a simulation Thursday, there was classwork.

"We had about 140 staff show up, including [some] substitute teachers," Crall said Friday.

The "admin team" and several teachers shared knowledge they gained at ALICE training.

"ALICE stands for Alert, Lock Down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. The gist of ALICE is to empower teachers to keep kids safe if there is an active shooter in the building," Crall said.

They're empowered because rather than having one reaction set in stone, like telling everyone to get under their desk and stay there, ALICE provides a choice of responses.

So one teacher in the hallway adjacent to shooting might lock their door and move students out of sight, Crall said. Another might see shooting is occurring on the other side of the building and decide they are going to get their students out of there.

"Pick the best option for you and your students based on real-time information," Crall said.

At Cardinal Middle High School, Principal Jeremy Hissem was going through the safety bags recently donated by the Wapello County Sheriff's Office and the Wapello County Department of Public Health. There were a lot of good components; so many, in fact, they were taking items out to reduce weight.

"We're in the process of building new safety plans," said Hissem. "This being Iowa, I think we're pretty good about tornado drills, obviously."

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