Sunday, November 29, 2020

Pennsylvania school using unconventional safety drill

A high school in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, is planning to fire blanks during active shooter drills that it conducts in an attempt to better prepare students.

 

The A.L.I.C.E. drill involves a trained team and a “shooter” to act out a scenario in which the school is under fire from an active shooter. A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.

 

During the drill, blanks will be fired in the hallways to expose faculty and students to the sound of actual gunfire.

 

In the article, it seems as though students, parents and faculty are well informed about this new tactic. Some did not like this new plan, while others didn’t really have a problem with it.

 

One of the problems mentioned in the article by grandparent Marlene Vavrek was, “Kids with any kind of issues will intensify.”

 

This concern was shared by junior criminal justice major Anthony Ciccarelli, who said this could potentially lead to students being affected mentally.

 

Even though this is a risk, Ciccarelli doesn’t think it’s the worst idea to use this tactic to prepare students and faculty.

 

“I think that it was a good attempt,” Ciccarelli said. “And it makes sense so that kids hear the shots and learn to not panic.”

 

Ciccarelli also had an idea that could make the drills a little less frightening for students. It still involves letting the kids hear the sound of gunfire, but it would be in a less frightening situation.

 

“Instead of using the blanks during the drills, they could use them as a demonstration so that kids know what gunshots sound like if a school shooting were to ever happen.” Ciccarelli said.

 

Earlier this month, Plattsburgh High School went on lockdown after a student heard what sounded like gunshots.

 

Police showed up and investigated the surrounding area. They determined that it was the noise from a passing vehicle.

 

Students stayed in their classrooms and away from windows during the lockdown. Although it was a false alarm, this is an instance where it was important to have a plan for what to do in these scenarios.

 

Even though not everyone agrees with this high school’s choice to shoot blanks during their drills, it is a precaution that may help if a shooter were to attack the school.

 

Hearing the noise of what an actual gunshot sounds like in the school’s hallways during drills could help the students remain as calm as possible during a live shooter.

 

The nature of school or mass shootings means that they can happen anywhere and anytime.

Schools have taken this to heart and ramped up preparation and emergency planning.

 

“Active shooters are hard to prepare for due to the nature that there are many ways they could occur,” Ciccarelli said. “The best way, in my opinion, would be to just have a set safety plan for specific scenarios and to practice it multiple times in a year.”

 

Email Annie Campbell at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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