Active shooter response ALICE teaches evacuation

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As the nation struggles to come to terms with the shooting in Florida, students and parents want to know how they're being protected at schools here in metro Detroit.

Dr. RJ Webber, the assistant superintendent of academic services at Novi schools, shows us one of many methods he and his staff are trained on to keep active shooters out of a room. 

"To then sit to the side of that door and do everything you possibly can to stop it from being opened. You can also put as many barricade items as you can in front of that door and try to keep people from coming in that space and in that door for as long as you possibly can," he said.

This method is part of a training that puts the old way of dealing with active shooters on its back. Instead of sheltering in place, the ALICE system has one goal in mind: evacuate. 

"If there was an intruder or if there was a situation we would simply shelter in place and wait and hope and hope. Now instead what we do is we train our kids and our staff to evacuate and leave if it all possible," Webber said.

ALICE stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate and is relatively new. Novi, Lake Orion, and Cranbrook are a few of the schools using it now.

The head of security for Cranbrook school in Bloomfield Hills, Calvin Vincent says they started rolling the new program out in 2016. 

"If you choose to lock down inside the building when the active shooter or violent shooter is present we are going to ask you to do more than simply shut your door and lock it. We're going to ask you to barricade your door, use desks, any office furniture, chairs, anything possible to put more time between yourself and the individual in the hallway trying to do harm to you," he said.

And by counter, they mean do something to distract the shooter to buy time. 

"Counter doesn't necessarily mean fight but it does mean noise, movement, distance, distraction - anything you can do to draw that shooter's attention away from you," Vincent said.

He says in a classroom that could mean kids throwing books, staplers, etc. if someone comes through the door, trying to knock that person from their thought process.

But there's a step before ALICE that Webber hopes will be addressed first. The suspect in the Parkland shooting is a former student who had been expelled.  

"What do we do when a student is in that sort of a crisis to support that student mentally," Webber said.  "So that they may not indeed manifest in that way. And then finally I think we also have to look at what we are willing to do as a society in general to prevent these things from happening."