Milton Town School District
Parent FAQ about
School Safety Drills
The Milton Town School District is committed to ensuring that the school and its employees will be able to respond effectively in the event of an emergency incident affecting the school. In our efforts to continuously evaluate and improve, the District has adopted this nationally recognized safety protocol to be used in the unlikely event that an active and dynamic threat presents itself in one of the school buildings. We hope this information sheet helps to answer questions that you may have.
ALICE stands for:
Alert – Be aware of your surroundings and let people know if something is “off”.
Lockdown – If you can’t evaluate, you should barricade the room until it is safe to evacuate.
Inform – Pass along clear information about the situation, avoiding “codes”.
Counter – As a last resort, take action to distract or disrupt the threat until you can get away.
Evacuate – If it is safe to do so, putting distance between yourself and the threat is the best thing to do.
What does the training of staff look like?
Training is conducted by certified instructors and is made up of classroom instruction, demonstrations of strategies, and discussion. All aspects of the training are tailored to be effective, non-threatening, and age appropriate for the audience.
During ALICE training, staff and students are trained in different options for responding to a school intruder who is intent on doing harm. In certain circumstances, the “lock the door and hide” strategy might be appropriate. In some cases, the teacher and students might take precautions to barricade the entrance(s) of the classroom. Under certain conditions, it might be the best decision for the teacher and students to flee the building. The goal of ALICE training is that, if a terrible circumstance of an armed intruder ever were to occur, the strategies learned will increase the chances that our staff and students will respond in the method that is best for them.
How will the training be communicated to students in an age-appropriate way?
We want our children to be prepared for everything, including if an unsafe person was to enter our school. Administrators, student services staff, and teachers will take the principles and tactics taught in the ALICE training and present the information in non-fearful, empowering ways. We will take into account children’s developmental readiness to ensure that students feel safe and have opportunities to talk about their feelings and reactions.
At this time, there is no plan to have simulated shooters in our buildings while students are learning about ALICE. All learning will be staff-directed and student-centered. Parents are encouraged, if they wish, to contact their principals with specific questions and concerns. We also recommend visiting the ALICE website for additional information: www.alicetraining.com.
Are teachers and students supposed to follow ALICE in order? Are you supposed to Alert, then Lockdown, then Inform?
ALICE is not meant to be a checklist; it is a list of options with strategies for each individual to use as they see fit in the situation. As each situation is different, and every location, area, or threat is unique, ALICE trains people to make the best decision for themselves, in the moment.
We’ve been doing drills for years. Why the change?
Parents and guardians entrust us with the safety and security of their children every day; we do not take that responsibility lightly. It is becoming all too common to hear about tragic events resulting in loss of life all around our country. The new standard of care that is endorsed by the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont School Safety Center emphasizes pro-active, options-based approaches to dealing with these threats. Emergency preparedness drills will continue, but instead of routine obedience (which can lead to complacency during drills and confusion in a real event), teachers and eventually students, will be taught to assess the situation, evaluate the options, and respond in the method that is best for them. These drills will be conducted in an organized, orderly manner, but will focus on critical thinking, not fear.
What does it mean to “Counter” an intruder?
The intent of “Counter” is to distract and disrupt the intruder so that they cannot focus on specific targets. Students are taught to yell, move, throw things, and otherwise disorient the individual. They are not taught, or expected to physically engage a threat, however, how they choose to respond if directly confronted by an intruder is up to them. Analysis and review of previous events has shown that it is generally NOT effective to be passive during an active and dynamic threatening situation.
Where can I find more information on ALICE?
Additional information is available on the ALICE website: www.alicetraining.com. You may also speak to your child’s principal to access materials that might be helpful to share at home depending on your child’s needs.
Will the Milton Police Department be in schools to help teachers practice scenarios and possibilities for an active shooter situation?
The Milton Police Department have trained staff in the ALICE Protocol. This training includes different scenarios and drills that imitate an active shooter situation. Staff will share what they have learned with our students through the course of the year.
In a crisis, law enforcement will arrive as quickly as possible, but we must learn to help ourselves before they arrive. Just as the fire department equips us with fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and EMS trains us in using AED for heart attacks, the law enforcement community is training us in our response options in the event of an active intruder situation.
How will I be notified if my child’s school is experiencing a crisis?
Notification of the initial situation, as well as updates will be sent out using all available methods of school district communication, including phone calls, text messages, media alerts, email, website updates, and any other tactic. For this reason, it is important that the school be informed if any contact information changes. To update your contact information please contact your child’s school office. In a crisis, it is very important that parents NOT rush to the school as this can get in the way of emergency responders and other aid who are on their way.
What should I do if my child’s school is experiencing a crisis?
If you receive a notification that there is an incident at your child’s school, you should stay at home or work and monitor local TV and radio stations, your phone and email. DO NOT come to the school because you could slow down the emergency responders coming to the school; DO NOT call the school because it ties up the phone lines that might be needed to communicate with emergency responders; DO NOT rely on social media or word of mouth for updates as they can be misleading or completely false.
How will I be reunited with my child if I can’t come to the school?
In the event that students need to be moved away from the school for safety reasons, the school will provide information on a location and system of reuniting parent and children. This process will ensure that students are accounted for, and released only to authorized individuals. Police and emergency personnel may be involved in this process depending on the situation.
What should I do if I hear something or see something that feels threatening towards the school?
If you are aware that someone may want to do harm to the school, you should immediately let the school and police know. Call the office and make sure to talk to a person; don’t assume that a message or email will be heard or seen in a timely manner. If the threat is on social media, take a screenshot or picture of the post including the user name of the person who posted it and share that with the school and police. Please do not comment on the post or forward it to anyone other than law enforcement or school personnel. You may also call the anonymous hotline: 802-893-5497.
What should I tell my child(ren) if they ask me about ALICE or things on the news?
Children look to adults for reassurance and answers to things they don’t understand. Find out what they already know and how they feel. Make sure they have accurate and age appropriate information; validate their feelings and let them know that it’s ok to have those feelings. Also emphasize that even though scary things sometimes happen, most times people go through their day without any harm. Talk about ways to keep themselves safe; having options can ease anxiety.