Program encourages students to confront active shooters in school

A.L.I.C.E. program aims to stall shooter

INDIANAPOLIS -  

A controversial but growing movement encourages students to physically confront armed intruders in schools.

The program is called A.L.I.C.E., and it stands for alert, lockdown, inform, confront and escape.

The A.L.I.C.E. program is designed to increase one's chances of surviving an active shooter scenario, even if it means a physical confrontation with the intruder.

Active shooters do a lot of damage in a short amount of time, and typically an active shooter will commit suicide upon first contact with the police.

So until police arrive, A.L.I.C.E. encourages schools to alert students and staff, lockdown the building and inform them of the gunman's movements.

If escape isn't possible, then students and staff are told to physically confront the assailant.

Mike Clarke, an A.L.I.C.E. trainer, said he doesn't recommend that elementary students confront an active shooter, but there are other things they can do.

"Elementary, I would never recommend that they would try to fight with him," Clarke said. "But they can do other things. They can create distractions. If they're moving, throwing things as they're trying to get out, it's going to be harder for him to hit them."

A.L.I.C.E. was presented in a forum hosted by the Indiana Youth Institute at the Athenaeum Tuesday.

Pia Shrontz, a school mediator in Indiana, said the A.L.I.C.E. program is worth considering.

"I think it's a good policy that we start looking at new things, because what we've been doing hasn't been working too well," Shrontz said. "We need to get ahead of the game."

But in Indianapolis Public Schools, the state's second largest school system, police and administrators advocate taking whatever life-saving action necessary, short of engaging an armed perpetrator.

"I'm not sure that a 5- to 7- to 9- or 13-year-old child has the capacity to choose the right time to take action," said Steve Garner, chief of the IPS police.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has developed a similar program called Run, Hide, Fight.

Schools systems in Ohio and Texas have embraced these programs in growing numbers.

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