Substitute Teaching, ie What I Did Not Write About: Preparing for Active Shooters

Back when I was substitute teaching, we would occasionally have discussions about how to handle an active shooter.

The way active shooters are handled in buildings has changed dramatically.   The previous practice was to have lock downs.  This would involve the school announcing a lock down over the PA system.  The teacher would lock the door, turn off the lights, and all of the students would gather in a corner of the room and be as quiet as possible.  The idea was to make the shooter believe that the classrooms were empty.

Sadly, we now have had enough school shootings to develop best practices.  We know now that having students huddle in the corner is a bad idea.  If a shooter enters the classroom, they are easy targets; it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.  Instead, schools are now moving towards ALICE training.

My mom actually had ALICE training a couple of years ago.  She works at a university that has had an active shooter.  ALICE training stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.  Instead of having students huddled in the corner waiting for a shooter, they are now encouraging students to shove all of their desks in front of the door.  Furthermore, ALICE training also dictates that teachers hand out objects to the students.  In the event that the shooter is able to enter the classroom, the students should run around the room and throw the objects at the shooter.

I was substitute teaching just as ALICE training was coming into practice.  My mom had gone through it, though I never have.  However,  I did talk to a teacher’s aide about it.  I was subbing in a classroom of students with multiple disabilities.  The students could never have run around the classroom throwing things, but the teacher did have a box of blocks to throw.  We also discussed how frustrating her room was because it locked from the outside.

We did not have this conversation in any other classroom.  I subbed in several different locations but I never received actual ALICE training.  I wonder if this has changed.

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