School rethinks active shooter response protocol

Officer Taylar Verrier briefs Lavallette Elementary School teachers on active shooter incident guidance. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN

LAVALLETTE — For most schools, the standard procedure for an active shooter drill is to lockdown and shelter in place. Lavallette Elementary School is exploring other options.

Through ALICE training, which stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter and Evacuate, the Lavallette Police Department showed teachers and staff Monday why other responses can be more effective than hiding in a classroom.

“When you’re hiding in the classroom, you’re just waiting for them to find you, but if you evacuate you can be out by the time they make their way in,” said Sgt. Christian LaCicero.

He and School Resource Officer Taylar Verrier led the class through several scenarios on Aug. 27, using a Nerf gun with foam balls as stand-ins for bullets to show the effectiveness of different procedures available in the option-based method.

According to Officer Verrier, ALICE is very similar to the run, hide or fight method that is considered best practice by the New Jersey School Security Task Force and Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA].

“The ALICE model is driven on an options-based approach and it gives individuals the option to decide for themselves how they want to react based on their situation,” she said.

“This concept is similar to a run, hide, fight approach which is considered best practice by the New Jersey Task Force as well as FEMA and some other government entities. Many other schools are starting to adopt this model also.”

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