TELL US: Should Schoolkids be Trained to Defend Against an Armed Attack?

New training techniques are being questioned that call for students to able to actively defend against a Columbine-style attack. What do you think?

The list of shooter attacks on high schools and colleges and universities is way too long.

One result: a new approach to training schoolkids how to act in such circumstances. As NPR headlined its story last month about the technique: "to survive a shooting, students learn how to fight back."

The essence of the new drill for students is: alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate. Or, ALICE.

What's new there? The verb "counter."

Proponents of the new approach say there have been too many attacks for students not to be trained in how to more actively defend themselves.

Others, especially some parents, ask: does that make sense to expect kids and teens to be able to make such hair-raising, possible life-risking decisions?

There is controversy, now that that the training is coming to Massachusetts. The Boston Globe reports that, on Nov. 14, the Massachusetts Juvenile Police Officers' Association will host ALICE training with mostly police and school officials from places including Canton, Concord, Dedham, Framingham, Franklin, New Bedford, Wellesley, West­borough, Winchester, and also from New Hampshire and ­Connecticut.

This is an important new approach to find out about and think through: should schoolkids learn to more actively defend themselves in armed attacks? Or is that asking for even more trouble and unfair to the students? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Curtis Lavarello November 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
The ALICE Training ought to be a huge red flag for schools, especially in the liability arena. While much of what is contained in the ALICE training is already in use by a great many schools across the nation, the often not mentioned part of the training that draws the most controversy is the part that involves about an hour-long part on teaching the students to engage in a coordinated, times attack on an armed intruder in the classroom. As a 25+ Year Law Enforcement Executive and National Speaker on School Safety, law enforcement agencies train for weeks and months on coordinated, timed response attacks to armed suspects, and now in less then an hour we are going to show a group of 7th graders how to attack a gunman? This also implies that every person who enters a classroom armed is going to kill students Columbine style, which school safety experts know is simply not the case. In many cases where an armed intruder entered a classroom, the intruder has left without firing the weapon. Has 4-5 students tried to attack the armed person, the results may have been much different. Again, parents should be very concerned over this training being taught to their child and the school itself should absolutely review this training tactic for students with both the legal staff and insurance carrier as both may wisely decline.
Susan Keeley November 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Wow, this is just a sad indictment of life in the USofA. We have so thoroughly failed our children that we're now going to train them to defend themselves in an armed attack? At what age is it appropriate to begin "training" a child to defend him- or herself against people with personal armories and a mission to get themselves noticed? You're 5, off to school now, good luck to ya! If anything bad happens it's your own job to defend yourself; not that of the grown-ups in charge of your world. No, it's not scary to learn how to do this. You won't have nightmares or panic attacks about going to school at all. You certainly won't develop any trust issues with the authority figures in your life who are telling you they might not be there for you when it really matters. Meanwhile, you're not allowed to have Santa in the classrooms anymore. And we'll teach you how to "counter" a school shooter but we sure as heck won't teach you about your own sexuality because that's too dangerous. We are one seriously screwed up culture!!!
Robert Fucci November 12, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Folks ... no swearing of any kind please ... even if you are using @&$ in place of letters. You can make your point with more civilized language.
Concerned Parent November 12, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Unrealistic liability concerns are a factor in the downward spiral of this country - from investment decisions in new small businesses, to hiring & firing of employees, and now apparently to the safety of our children vs the liability of a school district. Are you seriously stating that its OK not to provide even limited training to have students protect themselves if it means potential liability to the school??? So a few dead kids are acceptable as long as no culpability can be assigned to the school district...... As the saying goes "when seconds count, law enforcement is only minutes away". Let's be proactive instead of reactive. Doing nothing certainly will not increase anyone's potential for surviving such an incident - doing something just might.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »