ALICE training prepares for the worst

The things we learned to keep us safe in the event of an active shooter have changed since many of us were in high school, and a new program is preparing people better than ever.

Officer Scott Stevens from Castleton Police Department and Deputy Chief John Sly from Rutland Town came to present the ALICE program on Feb. 14. ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. The program is all about taking charge of these dangerous scenarios, backed by research done on real-life active shooter scenarios such as the Columbine and Virginia Tech mass-shootings.

“This is nothing more than the next evolution of ‘stranger danger,’” Sly said. But that isn’t to put this situation lightly.

This all boils-down to keeping people safe and to echo the words of Stevens, “When push comes to shove, glass breaks.”

The event highlighted methods such as tying belts around hinges and blockading with heavy objects to keep anybody out. They even gave stories about how in certain cases, citizens and sometimes teachers have used their bodies to block doors and save everyone inside.

The biggest concern about ALICE training is the attendance at the event. Jefford Auditorium was far from full. There were a total of 5 people in attendance that sat in the first 4 rows.

Director of Public Safety Keith Molinari voiced his concern stating, “Seven people came to the last event. Seven.”

Even though the training isn’t mandatory, “I still thought more students would participate,” Molinari said.

Alyssa Payette, Registered Nurse and fourth-year student at Castleton, went to the event on her own prerogative.

“I want to be prepared in the event that something did happen,” Payette said.

But she also noticed that the auditorium felt kind of empty.

“Vermont is typically thought to be one of the safest states,” she said, “and for some reason I think people underestimate the potential dangers or even the importance of having that knowledge. Just in case.”

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