The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 23, 2013

Keeping watch: School district leaders hear safety report

CLINTON — The Clinton School Board on Monday learned what the district does to provide a safe environment for all students, staff and community members.

Bluff Elementary School principal Mark Bloom, school resource officer Matt Lorenzen and Clinton High School teacher Mike Halac explained to board members what the District’s Schools Safety Committee has accomplished, including how the new ALICE system will help the district be a safer place.

ALICE, which stands for alert, lock down, inform, counter and evacuate, gives students and staffs options when faced with an emergency situation, Halac told board members.

“Sometimes locking down is the best situation. There’s no question about it,” Halac said. “But there’s also situations where there’s somebody in the building, which we’ve seen so much in the news lately. We want them to have options for that.”

The first step in ALICE is to alert using clear and concise language to convey the type of event and location. Students and staff will also be encouraged to use 911 in the case of emergency events. Lockdown could also be used in cases where someone may be perceived as a threat before they enter the building, Halac explained.

The third step is to inform and keep accurate and constant information coming.

Lorenzen explained that the fourth step, counter, does not mean students or staff will be encouraged to combat an armed assailant, but that they will be taught to use diversions to get out of the dangerous situation as implied by the final step: evacuate.

“It’s really just basic common sense that if we have a threat in a building, we want to get them out,” Lorenzen saidsaidsaid said.

District officials are implementing ALICE in all schools with a drill planned for the beginning of next school year.

The district takes some precautions to increase safety everyday. For instance, the doors to classrooms are always to be locked and a teacher should be opening it when someone wants to enter the room. Also, all buildings have locked facilities with buzz-in and check-in procedures.

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