School police expert: ALICE training is a safety, liability risk
A veteran national expert on school-based police today called teaching school students to attack armed intruders a safety and liability risk for school boards and superintendents, as well as law enforcement agencies.
“A.L.I.C.E. training should be a huge red flag for school and police administrators, especially in the liability arena. Both the legal staff and insurance carriers may wisely decline,” said Curt Lavarello, Executive Director of the School Safety Advocacy Council.
A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. The “counter” component of teaching school students to throw objects at armed intruders and to physically attack them is coming into question by experienced educators and safety professionals.
Lavarello is a veteran Florida-based former school police officer who went on to serve for years as the Executive Director for the National Association of School Resource Officers. He has consulted on school-based police training for the U.S. Department of Justice and as a litigation consultant on school-based police issues.
“While much of what is contained in the A.L.I.C.E. training is already in use by a great many schools across the nation, the part of the training that draws the most controversy is the part that involves about an hour-long component on teaching students to engage in a coordinated, timed attack on an armed intruder in the classroom. As a 25+ year law enforcement executive and national trainer on school safety, I know first-hand that law enforcement agencies train for weeks and months on coordinated, timed response attacks to armed suspects. Now in less than an hour we are going to show a group of 7th graders how to attack a gunman?,” Lavarello questioned.
Lavarello says the training falsely assumes 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, he said.
“Had four to five students tried to attack the armed person, the results may have been much different,” Lavarello noted.
Lavarello also expressed concern that school and law enforcement officials may not be disclosing to parents with full transparency that they are teaching their children to attack armed intruders.
“Parents should be very concerned over this training being taught to their child. The school itself should absolutely review this training tactic for students with both the legal staff and insurance carrier as both may wisely decline,” Lavarello said.
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