School Safety: Is ALICE Enough?


Ainsley Helling

RHS students begin barricading a classroom door to practice ALICE training.

When students arrive at school each day, the last thing they expect to do is hide in the corner of a classroom or attempt escaping through a window. However, with the number of school shootings on the rise, this is what many must prepare for. 

According to, there have been 76 school-related gun violence incidents this year. As a result of this statistic and the frequent reports of such events on the news, students often find themselves fearful during the school day. 

In a survey of 61 RHS students, 45.9% find themselves fearful of an active shooter situation occurring at school. To help resolve the issue of students’ fears, schools all over the country have executed procedures to prepare for this worst-case scenario. 

96% of schools in the U.S. conduct active shooter drills according to the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics in the New York Times. The Ross Local School District currently utilizes the ALICE training solution to prepare students and teachers for this type of situation. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. Though most students find the current ALICE training helpful, some believe that this tactic is lacking, and there is much more that could be done in order to prepare.

A sophomore who chose to remain anonymous said, “I think it may make the children feel more ‘prepped’ for a shooter, but in a crisis, most people just panic. Also, school shooters are usually the students. All we are doing is telling the potential shooters where we will be, how to get there, and we’re giving them plenty of time to find faults in our methods.”

Many students suggest that becoming more educated on the topic and taking the practice drills more seriously may ease some students’ fears and help with preparation. Corrie Lives, School Resource Officer, agrees that these methods may alleviate some of this apprehension.

“Come and ask questions. Be aware of what to do and pay attention when we do the drills,” stated Officer Lives.

Other schools such as Talawanda have chosen to implement new security measures to increase student safety. New cameras, black-out window covers, and emergency first-aid kits are a few examples of this course of action, according to Similarly, RHS has been working to improve student safety by labeling the windows of the school building and planning more drills for the future. 

Despite training and security strategies in place, students must be aware of those around them and act on concerning situations. 

“The biggest thing the students could do is notify us if they hear something or see something,” stated Officer Lives. 

If you see or hear something, say something. It is unrealistic to say we can fully prepare for an active shooter situation occurring at school, but reaching out to trusted adults with questions or concerns can help ease your fears.