On October 9th, 2019, CASHS had it’s first “A.L.I.C.E” drill of the school year. Someone is assigned the role of an “active shooter” and an announcement is given as to where the shooter is located and what they look like. From there, students and staff have to make on-the-spot decisions as though a school shooter was actually in the building. Though, there are very valid and concerning issues when it comes to these drills.
If an active shooter was actually in CASHS it would be absolute chaos. Would there even be time to give an announcement for people to protect themselves? Would they be able to hear it over the hysteria? Even if an announcement is given, will we know the exact location of the shooter? The shooter would hear the announcement themselves and probably move to a different area of the building, right? There are a lot of unknowns that come with this situation and I feel that setting up a drill where all the details are given is unrealistic.
I noticed a couple of important things during this drill the other day. First of all, it is a drill so naturally students walk out of the building because let’s be honest…does anyone actually feel like running? With this aspect, we are not able to get an accurate portrayal of a school shooting. CASHS has approximately 2,600 students within the building and then faculty as well. So, in a true emergency, we would all be running for our lives. Doorways would be ridiculously cramped and people would be pushed around. Though, in an A.L.I.C.E drill, students are not able to truly understand how overwhelming a real life shooting would be.
During “Ocker’s Observations,” Mr. Ocker commented on how seriously the students of CASHS took the drill. Though where I was, this was hardly the case. Outside, students were stomping into people’s yards and throwing walnuts at one another. This kind of behavior would certainly not be appropriate during a real school shooting, and it is not appropriate during drills.
Nonetheless, A.L.I.C.E drills give students and staff the freedom to make on the spot decisions and open up conversations about action plans. School shootings have become often occurrences. It is beneficial that CASHS has some type of drill to help people prepare, but A.L.I.C.E drills do not fully prepare schools. Either students need to take the drills more seriously or staff needs to brainstorm some new strategies to implement into A.L.I.C.E drills.