BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Clarkston High School Principal Gary Kaul is reassuring the community that all students at the high school – and across the district – will be safe this school year.
Last year, several members of the district staff partnered with local law enforcement to undergo ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) safety training. This training was then conducted with every staff member within Clarkston Community Schools. This year, the district will be conducting two Drill Days – with the first one this Friday, Sept. 6 – during first and second semesters, serving as an ALICE refresher and providing additional information for new students and staff members
“Students will have discussions on ALICE protocols in each class,” said Kaul in an email to the community, Aug. 29. “We will also conduct school-wide tornado, fire, and shelter in-place drills throughout the day. ALICE can best be described as a proactive approach program that provides additional options beyond the single response of a traditional lockdown in the event of an emergency. In a school setting, there is almost always an advantage of numbers, and the strategy chosen to react in the event of an emergency or violent event is not linear.”
The particular ALICE strategy someone uses is based on information – what type of danger is present, where the source of the danger is located at the time of the event, or what the immediate threat level someone personally faces.
“For example, if a dangerous person is in a classroom, we would not want to go into a traditional lockdown,” Kaul said. “We may choose to use either evacuate or counter. If an attacker is farther away from your specific location, you may choose to safely evacuate. If an assailant is down the hall, you may choose to lockdown, barricade and be ready to counter.
“The ALICE program is based on human responses to stress and distraction research. There is no one right answer on which option to choose. Common sense should play a large role when deciding on the best option in your particular situation, while always keeping student safety as our first priority.”
Kaul added that the district conducted its first Drill Day last year and found that spending a day near the start of school on this topic was a great way to engage students and maintain a focus of safety and security.