Staff editorial: ALICE intruder drill misses mark, leaves students unprepared

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The first ALICE drill of the school year left students feeling confused and vulnerable, rather than prepared.

Elliot Sheets

The first ALICE drill of the school year left students feeling confused and vulnerable, rather than prepared.

In the event of an active shooter crisis, to be informed is to be empowered. With the recent implementation of ALICE procedures on the DGS campus, students are granted the right to make decisions concerning their own safety in emergency situations. These responses are made more effective when students are accurately informed of the location of the immediate threat. 

On Thursday Sept. 26, however, DGS students were left powerless.

This lack of power was largely due to a lack of information, a key component in the ALICE training method. During the first intruder safety drill of the school year, students were prepared to receive information regarding the location of a staged building intruder. They were then expected to respond with an individualized action plan they believed would best protect them. 

While students were prepared, the PA system was not. A malfunction in the PA patch prevented administration from providing students with additional information concerning the location of the active shooter. These crucial details were needed to help students complete the final steps of the ALICE training, in which they decide whether to counter or evacuate.

In a time where school shootings are becoming a societal normality, the last thing students want to feel is unprepared. Especially during an active shooter crisis, the student body needs to find comfort in knowing DGS staff can provide them with proper working resources and information required to better their chances of survival.

Some have said we should be grateful for the PA system malfunction, as it happened on a training day where students were not at risk. Now that the issue has been identified, the administration can make efforts to both fix the PA system and develop an alternative method of communication if a similar issue were to happen again. 

While we believe administration can learn from this error, students deserve an additional opportunity to practice the drill as it was originally intended. Only through this practice of being provided with vital information will students truly know how they may want to respond. 

It’s time to grant students the power they deserve. 

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