It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that this is even necessary — it’s something an older generation could not have imagined would ever be needed — but schools today need to be prepared for almost anything, including an attack by a deranged gunman intent on killing large numbers of students and teachers.
Now, teachers, administrators and staff at Wallingford’s schools will be prepared to take a more proactive role if they are faced with an armed intruder because they have started special training for just such an eventuality.
“Teachers’ preparation will be enhanced,” School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo informed parents via email, “to help them make informed decisions to best respond should such an incident occur.”
The superintendent, the Police Department and the town are to be commended for taking these steps to protect Wallingford’s students by the training of teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, clerical staff, administrators, greeters, lunch/recess aides, security staff, custodians, and eventually food service staff and coaches in safety procedures, by the ALiCE Training Institute, a national program for schools, police, businesses and other institutions.
The acronym ALiCE stands for response strategies: alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuation. It includes a range of actions in addition to a simple lockdown. The training is taking place in the schools.
While an older generation may remember hiding under their desks during Cold War attack drills, the ALiCE Training Institute says guidance from the U.S. Department of Education recommends going beyond such lockdown drills, and takes into account the emotional toll an active-shooter incident would take on students and teachers.
In a post-Columbine, post-Sandy Hook, post-Parkland world, every U.S. school needs to be as prepared as possible for a worst-case scenario, and the training in Wallingford sounds like a good first step.
It is only a first step — there are other precautions that can be taken, including renovations to school buildings and the placement of police officers in schools — but the kind of training Wallingford has opted for makes sense. We hope other towns will follow Wallingford’s lead.
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