In Swanton Friday, schools were on a three-hour delay, not because of weather or an emergency, but because all the teachers were participating in new safety training.
Ever since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, school safety has been on the forefront of educators' minds across the country. On Friday, the faculty at Swanton Schools received new safety training called ALICE, that stresses immediate response for teachers to act quickly when seconds count and police are minutes away.
Swanton teachers packed into the high school cafeteria, where a sergeant from the Defiance County Sheriff's Office laid out the steps of the ALICE program. ALICE stands for alert, lock down, inform, counter and/or evacuate.
Current lockdown safety protocols in schools have students huddling into a corner of their classroom, which could actually benefit an active shooter's plan.
"They need to have the mindset that there is more that they can do, beside sitting there and waiting for a bad thing to happen," explained Sgt. Steve Flory with the Defiance County Sheriff's Office.
The ALICE program goes beyond lockdown procedures, having teachers constantly informing each other of the situation, evacuating if possible. As a last resort, teachers can counter the shooter by any means necessary, which teaches the teachers how to become first responders themselves.
"[This training teaches educators] the tools that they can use before we get here, as law enforcement, because unfortunately, we're probably not going to be here right when that thing happens," said Flory.
School officials say it is an unfortunate, but necessary, lesson to learn.
"We wanted to make sure we were doing the latest and greatest, and have the most up-to-date information," said Jeff Schlade, Swanton School's superintendent.
Swanton Schools Intervention Specialist Sharon Marvin says the training provides a way for schools to become more proactive, instead of reactive. She feels it is better to be prepared for an event, than not be prepared at all.
"The more prepared that you can be for an unfortunate event like this, the better off you're going to be in the long run, and the more lives you're going to be able to save, and less students injured," said Marvin.
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