On Feb. 28, at Canfield High School, students had an assembly on ALICE training.
ALICE (Alert, Lock-down and barricade, Inform, Counter measures, and Evacuate) is a program to help students and staff in the case of an active shooter entering the school. The program was designed by a police officer in Texas who is married to a public school teacher.
Scott Weamer, assistant police chief ran the assembly. He started the training with saying this is one of the last things he would ever want to come and talk about but realizes how important this is for the safety of students.
Photos by Melissa Moliterno, Town Crier Correspondent
CHS Woodshop Teacher, John Ihnat along with Canfield Assist Police Chief Scott Weamer, and theater students Olivia DeMartino, 17 and Neal Timlin, 18, demonstrate how to take down an active shooter if they were to enter the classroom during ALICE training at CHS on Feb. 28.
''ALICE is a new response to an active shooter. It's all about a change in mindset. Schools have just been doing lock-down for years and unfortunately we have learned that's not a good response,'' said Weamer.
The Columbine shooting in 1999 began a change of procedures internally for police. However they found with more recent incidents that just those changes were not enough. Canfield police and schoolteachers went through ALICE training and are now bringing it back to the students. The whole idea is that students and teachers assess what is going on, and make a plan. Students have options like evacuating if the threat is not in their part of the school, barricading doors, and even taking on the predator. They can also provide important information in some situations to help law enforcement on the scene. Instead of just announcing, we are now in lock-down, information on where the shooter is and what is happening will be announced.
Weamer told students that in most active shooter situations a door can be barricaded, making it hard for the shooter to get in that room. In most cases the shooter would just move on.
Becoming a harder target in an active shooter situation will increase the chance of survival. Counter measures include taking on the shooter if they were to enter the classroom. Students demonstrated a good way to take down a shooter if they were to enter the room, which includes throwing objects at the shooter. Weamer said that a big part in changing everyone's mindset starts with realizing that doing nothing won't help anyone survive a school shooting.
''At the moment of truth you will not rise to the occasion, you will sink to your training,'' said Weamer.
The assembly is just the foundation to ALICE working in the schools. Teachers and faculty will continue to implement and practice what ALICE teaches, so that if there were ever to be a threat in the schools, students will be ready.
Weamer left more than 1,000 CHS students with a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, ''In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.''