A.L.I.C.E. - Safety Protocols
What is the history of Safety and Security Planning in the Suffield Public Schools?
For decades, the school district has had in place emergency procedures for a variety of safety hazards. Fire, hazardous material spills, gas leaks, severe weather. Due to the rise in incidents involving violent intruder and bomb threats across the country, additional emergency procedures have also been developed and continue to evolve as new response methods are recommended. Although we do not publish this information, the district is responsible for developing a Safety and Security Plan, which is required by statute to be submitted annually to the Department of Homeland Security. Our plans are developed in coordination with our emergency management officials in Suffield, and updates are made on a regular basis regarding its contents. The Board of Education is also periodically updated regarding the district’s safety measures and the infrastructure enhancements in Executive Session.
As a school district, we take pride in our strong working relationship with all of our first-responders (police, fire and ambulance). Our multi-agency collaboration has helped us develop and revise our mandated School Safety and Security Plan (which is an annex document to a comprehensive town-wide plan), provide ongoing professional learning on safety and security for our faculty and staff, implement state-required fire and crisis drills throughout the school year, and have always been there to support us when we needed to call on them. They are active partners in support of student and staff safety, and I am hopeful that knowledge of this provides parents some comfort and sense of security.
In regards to our district-wide Safety and Security Specialists, these individuals have advanced training as former Corrections Officers and are able to draw from their previous experiences. Our Safety and Security Specialists work collaboratively with our administration, local police department, Director of Facilities and Safety Coordinator, and our School Resource Officer to continuously review and update our district’s safety procedures while also monitoring each of our four schools. Advanced training is ongoing, as all of these individuals participate in state and national level trainings to further enhance our district's preparedness and ability to respond to a variety of emergency situations.
What is A.L.I.C.E.?
As of the 2022-2023 school year, the Suffield Public Schools has enhanced our safety measures through the addition of Safety and Security Specialists, integrating A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) procedures into our existing safety response protocols, and continuing with our Say Something anonymous reporting tool.
A.L.I.C.E. is a crisis response protocol that has been implemented in schools, businesses, healthcare facilities, government offices, and religious centers across the country. It is anticipated that many more organizations will begin to implement procedures such as what is recommended in A.L.I.C.E. for safety reasons. Our district faculty, administration, as well as, our local police department have been formally trained in A.L.I.C.E. Professional developing, training review, and announced and unannounced drills will be ongoing throughout the school year to develop staff and student confidence in our protocols. In addition, it is our hope that practicing will result in a quick and coordinated response should one ever be necessary.
|Alert:||Get the word out using clear, concise language to heighten situational awareness for an “options-based” response.|
|Lockdown:||As a starting point, continue to lock down students in secure areas.|
|Inform:||Keep staff and students informed, thereby allowing for good decision making.|
|Counter:||Apply skills to barricade, and if necessary, distract, confuse and gain control.|
|Evacuate:||Providing a safe option to distance yourself and students from a violent intruder or safety hazard.|