Students at Albuquerque Public Schools will watch a video or read a book in the upcoming weeks about how to deal with armed intruders on campus. The video was created at the request of high school students who wanted to know more about how to respond to dangerous situations.
The video discusses a safety protocol called ALICE, which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. In the video, APS Police Lt. Steven Marez urges students to act quickly if an armed intruder were to make their way onto campus.
“ALICE is proactive, meaning do something, not nothing,” Marez says. “Don’t lockdown, hide and wait. Don’t wait for permission to take action. Bottom line, do whatever you need to do to keep yourself and others alive.”
Some students say they feel like “sitting ducks” during lockdown drills. “Why would we hide in our classroom and wait for the shooter to come get us?” one middle schooler asked. Marez explains in the video that students should do more than just barricade themselves inside a classroom. He says students should “get as far away from the situation as possible” when it is deemed safe to do so after going into lockdown. He also urges students to take counter measures when possible.
“If you’re old enough and comfortable doing this, take actions that will put you in control,” Marez says. “This could mean screaming, running around in circles, moving around, spreading out, throwing objects at the intruder, or rushing them as a group. Anything it takes to stay safe. Do not hide under tables or in corners. That makes you more of a target.”
The last part of ALICE, evacuate, is the “best option, if possible,” Marez says. If students do have to evacuate, parents will be alerted as to what is going on and where they can pick up their kids. In an email to parents and guardians, Madison Middle School Principal Tammy Crespin writes, “If there were an intruder at your child’s school, you would be notified through SchoolMessenger as soon as information is available. You will likely be directed to a reunification site instead of the school for safety reasons. We promise to do everything we can to keep your child safe, stay in touch, and reunite families as quickly as possible.”
Crespin says students at Madison will watch the ALICE video Friday, Sept. 16, in their advisory classes. “Our greatest hope is that our students and staff never have to use the information we provide,” Crespin says.
Elementary school students will not watch the video, but will instead read a book titled “I’m Not Scared … I’m Prepared” by Julia Cook. The book is about a teacher at Ant Hill School who wants her students to be prepared for everything. In the book the sheep are the students, the shepherd a teacher and the wolf an intruder.
In a free online PDF version of the book, it says, “We teach all aspects of ALICE EXCEPT the “swarm technique” (grabbing onto the appendages of an intruder and using your body weight to immobilize him) to elementary students.” At the end of the book there is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt which reads, “In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
The book is designed to teach students what do if a “dangerous someone” entered their school, according to an email sent out to parents from Sombra del Monte Elementary School. In the email, Principal Heather Hinde says, “As your child’s parent or guardian, you will be notified when the book will be read in class or some other group setting. If you don’t want your child to participate, you can notify your child’s teacher.”
Hinde’s email says the ALICE video is designed for older students, but that parents “may choose to watch and discuss ALICE protocols with your child.” The video is available on YouTube in both Spanish and English and can be watched by anyone with access to the site.