WEST GREENWICH, R.I. (WJAR) — The strategy to survive a gunman in school has changed.
The active shooter drills of the last decade that involved students huddled in a corner or a closet have been deemed less effective than a new protocol that calls for students to rush an attacker if he enters their classroom.
It’s called ALICE - Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.
West Greenwich Police Sargent Pietro Petrarca said it’s far better than having children clustered in a small space.
“Out of all the things we’ve learned, we know that within five minutes or less, the incident is done,” Petrarca told WJAR on Monday.
After the initial steps of barricading the door and informing authorities, Petrarca said students and teachers should all grab a hard object that they can throw.
“If, God forbid, the intruder is able to gain access to the room, then everyone throws a hard object at the intruder,” said Petrarca. “As they are doing that, they should all rush him.”
They should then sit on him to keep him down and make sure the gun is secured underneath an overturned garbage can.
The training instructs students not to touch the gun. Anyone holding a weapon could be targeted by police when they arrive.
Petrarca believes ALICE is the best response currently devised, but that it’s even more effective when students are trained, as well as faculty and staff.
“It is a risk, but if they don’t do that, there is a risk of more fatals,” Petrarca said.
The system is becoming more widely adopted. While several school districts in Rhode Island have been trained in it, Petrarca believes only in his district have all the junior and senior high school students been trained.