ALICE arrives at DGS


Paul Szmanda

A stranger knocks on a classroom door.

On Nov. 13, students partook in an ALICE training lesson during their second-period class. ALICE is an acronym for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate. The organization provides active-shooter civilian response training.

The new training lessons mark a shift in the way that the school prepares for emergency situations. “[I]n the past it’s been talked about as a lockdown, and ALICE adds layers of decision-making onto that,” English teacher Joseph Geocaris said.

The lesson was presented in the form of a video, after which students had a class discussion about what they took away.

Sophomore Sophia Girik’s class talked about what they would do during specific situations and what safety measures they would take.

“[T]his is something that could cause high emotions, and it’s nice to know that there are steps and something we can do while in a high-stress situation, so I kind of took away a rational and good way to behave and good way to act in this sort of situation,” Girik said.

The discussions were moderated by the students’ second-period teachers. Students had an altered schedule for the day, with classes being shortened by five to eight minutes. Students also had two second-period classes, with the training lesson taking place during 2a while their regular second-period class was held during 2b.

Geocaris’s class broke up into groups to share thoughts about what they would do in various scenarios.

“The whole idea is to visualize it so that we think in advance … so in the unfortunate situation that anything would happen, we can draw those mental rehearsals to at least start to move without a total sense of panic — it’s going to be panic-y no matter what, but at least you have a couple of things in the back of your head that could be activated,” Geocaris said.

Girik thinks that one downside to the lesson was that it was presented in a video format. “[I]t was through video, and not a direct conversation, but that is sort of hard with a big school and classrooms, but I sense we did get the information that was necessary, and it did have a good effect,” Girik said.