ALICE gives area teachers new ways to survive school shooting

ALICE stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate

Protecting innocent people during an active-shooter situation is the focus of a new program called ALICE, which stands for Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate.

The ALICE training program is intended to better prepare schools to protect children in Wisconsin and Minnesota. More than 100 school districts in Wisconsin are using ALICE, including the De Soto School District.

“The way we learned it for years was to sit in a corner and hide out,” said Prairie View Elementary School teacher Heather Stenslien.

Teachers like Stenslien and other staff are learning new and better ways to survive a gunman.

“It gives them a variable list of options on different scenarios and different things they can react with and lets them choose the best one for the particular situation,” Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said.

If the intruder isn’t close to a classroom, ALICE training says to run.

“Evacuation and moving away is the best, basically the old sayings ‘avoid danger,'” Spears said.

If the intruder is close, though, it’s time to fight back.

“What are some of the unconventional type weapons we can use? Such as, a cup of hot coffee, a stapler, a tape dispenser to throw at that individual that threat,” Spears said.

While Stenslien was shaken by the training she’s never felt more confident about her ability to protect her students.

“It’s scary to think that when I went into this profession that I would have to prepare myself for this sort of thing, but at least we are prepared now,” Stenslien said.

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Department trained the staff at every De Soto school. Now that the teachers have the training they can run drills and teach their students the techniques.

There are many other school districts implementing ALICE training including Westby, La Crosse, Caledonia and La Crescent-Hokah.