The Ravenna School District is hosting a district-wide meeting to provide information about the district's new school safety procedures.
Superintendent Dennis Honkala said he sent a letter home with students, and sent a phone call out to all parents in the district inviting them to the meeting.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ravenna High School auditorium.
"Over the past several years we have seen a dramatic increase in school violence and school shootings. As experts analyze these horrific events it is apparent that we need to do more, not only in taking steps in an attempt to prevent the incident from occurring, but in the training of students and staff on procedures that we all need to survive should there be an active shooter in our schools."
He said the district's new "A.L.I.C.E." initiative includes the traditional lockdown procedure, but includes several other measures designed to keep students safe in the event of a shooting.
"Can we expect a fully-armed person that enters our school buildings with the intent to do harm to our children, simply to leave when they find that the classroom door is locked?" the letter states. "Knowing what we know about active shooters in school buildings, and other public places, the answer is NO. They have already made the decision to inflict harm when they armed themselves and entered that building."
"A.L.I.C.E." stands for the following steps to be taken in the event of a school shooting:
• Alert students and staff by getting the word out. Instead of using the words "Code Red" the announcement would be more clear and concise such as, "Armed intruder in the building, we are in lockdown."
• Lockdown students in a secure area.
• Inform -- Communicate by giving students and staff real-time information, in order to keep the shooter off-balance and allow for good decision making.
• Counter -- Apply skills to distract, confuse, and/or barricade.
• Evacuate -- Decrease the number of potential targets for the shooter and reduce the odds of having victims resulting from friendly fire when help arrives.
In the event of a school shooting, Honkala said, students and staff would be trained to listen carefully to the location and type of event, get to a secure area and remain there until it is safe to evacuate, use skills to distract, confuse or barricade the shooter should he invade the area, and evacuate as soon as it is safe to do so.
"I want to assure you that in NO WAY are we asking or teaching students and staff to make any attempt to subdue an armed gunman," the letter states. "However, we will provide them with the knowledge that if faced with a life or death situation, there are techniques that can be applied to greatly enhance their chance of survival."
In the event that they are confronted directly with an armed gunman, students and staff will be trained to cause distractions to interfere with the ability to shoot accurately, cause as much chaos in the room as possible to create "sensory overload," move around to avoid being a stationary target. They also will learn how to interact with law enforcement.
"Training will emphasize that the best way to survive an active shooter is to escape," he stated. "When that is not possible, being mentally prepared and having been given the authority and ability to act will save lives."
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