Students in Bridgeport are learning how to react aggressively, pro-actively and think on their feet during a school shooting. Later this week, they will learn the ALICE system. They learned the basics on Monday, to get them to start thinking in those terms.
The Belmont County Chief Deputy and their ALICE training specialist spoke with the kids. They will hold mock incidents on Friday, and they will learn through real-life situations how to think and react.
They used the shooting at Virginia Tech as an example, the conventional wisdom of the time was the lock down method, and in the end 33 people were killed. Bailey McGrath, a senior at Bridgeport High School talked about what she learned Monday, “yeah, they said that they were taught the lock down method. They said they just sat there and waited for the shooter to do anything he wanted to do basically, and they’re now telling us that’s not the right thing to do.”
Chief Deputy Jim Zusack and Deputy Glenn Moore taught them to use anything at hand as a weapon. They said a shooting being pelted in the head with books from 15 students won’t be able to do much shooting.
“They said maybe bust out a window, that could always be an option. Or you’re in the hallway, take off for the nearest exit,” said Justine Schell, a junior at Bridgeport. “We could use books or pencils, whatever, to protect ourselves,” senior Briana Massey added.
On Friday, they’ll be pelted with balls, not bullets.
“They’re going to be using air-soft guns, which makes it more realistic for us and gives us a better chance of knowing how to act when it really happens,” Sophomore Emilio Sandana said. Sophomore Josie Bugaj added, “it teaches us different methods to help us survive. Just like throwing books, getting out if the shooter is far away from us.”
Students were asked to think about how they would react if they were in class, in the gym or in the restroom when a situation happened. On Friday, they will be able to put those thoughts to use.
ALICE training is taught in many school systems nationwide. It stands for alert, lock down, inform, counter and evacuate.