Training class aims to make schools safer

Published 5:12 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

Law enforcement and school administrators from throughout Chilton County will attend a training course on Feb. 22 and 23 to better prepare in the case of an active shooter situation at one of the schools.

According to District Safe School Coordinator Todd Davis, all the schools in the county had previously followed different crisis management plans. One of the goals that Superintendent of Education Tommy Glasscock had was to create a systematic approach that would limit any confusion if a situation arose.

All of the first responders from each of the communities along with the sheriff’s and EMA offices will train together as a group.

Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate Training was established to offer effective ways in which to handle an active shooter situation. The training will consist of two days and be held at the Montgomery Police Station.

The ALICE training program has been endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education.

What makes it unique from other training classes is that completion of the course is also certification to teach the training methods.

“We will be certified trainers and will conduct that training for teachers at each one of our schools next year,” Davis said. “It’s one thing to say this is what we’re going to do, but it’s a different thing to actually conduct the training in the school.”

Those certified would have to go through the process again every three years in order to maintain the certification.

According to Davis, meetings began in August with the intention of getting everybody working together on the same page. They have met on a monthly basis since then.

“We wanted all of our school administrators and first responders to be partners in this regardless of city affiliation,” Davis said.

According to Davis, the schools previously relied on a color system with certain colors describing the severity of a situation. However, each school’s color system was different from the next.

Davis used the example of a substitute teacher who is at Thorsby High School one day and Clanton Intermediate School the next day. A code yellow could mean lockdown at one school and evacuate at the other.

“How do we expect continuity throughout the district,” Davis asked. “It’s just not a good way to do business.”

The county’s interest as a whole is at the forefront of the recent push toward making the ALICE training a necessity.

“There are certain responsibilities of administrators that we have to make sure happen,” Davis said. “Those procedures are not always matched up with how law enforcement are taught. We have to find a happy medium where both can do their jobs.