What you need to know about the latest ALICE drill

Students+in+Mrs.+Dyer%E2%80%99s+Honors+Journalism+class+flee+to+a+secure+area+of+the+computer+lab+after+hearing+the+active+shooter+announcement+and+gunshots.%0A
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What you need to know about the latest ALICE drill

Students in Mrs. Dyer’s Honors Journalism class flee to a secure area of the computer lab after hearing the active shooter announcement and gunshots.

Students in Mrs. Dyer’s Honors Journalism class flee to a secure area of the computer lab after hearing the active shooter announcement and gunshots.

Photo taken by Lilly Parker

Students in Mrs. Dyer’s Honors Journalism class flee to a secure area of the computer lab after hearing the active shooter announcement and gunshots.

Photo taken by Lilly Parker

Photo taken by Lilly Parker

Students in Mrs. Dyer’s Honors Journalism class flee to a secure area of the computer lab after hearing the active shooter announcement and gunshots.

Lilly Parker, News Editor

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Pleasant Valley High School, along with local law enforcement, held an ALICE drill during second period on April 26.

ALICE is an acronym and tool which tells people the necessary safety precautions to take during a school shooting; it stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. PVHS makes an effort to have students participate in an ALICE drill at least twice a year, so they can experience a “school shooting” during different class periods and in different areas of the building.

Senior Angela Pandit, a supporter of the #NeverAgain movement whose goal is to prevent future school shootings, believes ALICE drills effectively prepare her for the possibility of a school shooting but also affect her and her friends negatively. “They make me feel anxious but alert throughout the day. I know a lot of my peers also progressively get nervous throughout the day waiting for the drill to happen,” she said.

Pandit struggled with paying attention in class on days with ALICE drills because the majority of the school doesn’t know any details about what will happen. However, some students don’t act the same way. “If more students took it seriously, it would effectively prepare us for the worst,” she said.

Another aspect of ALICE drills that puts students on edge is the use of a starter pistol. Deputy Jamey Fah, Pleasant Valley High School’s liaison, said the starter pistol makes ALICE drills more relatable to what a real shooting incident would be like. It allows administrators and law enforcement to “determine how sound travels in the building and how people react.”

Although ALICE drills typically take place when most people are at school, such as third or fourth period, students often wonder how the school would react during more chaotic times like lunch or passing period. Fah said more dynamic drills are a definite possibility in the future.   However, he emphasized the importance of not moving too fast and taking “baby steps” to ensure success on a basic level.

To help the school as a whole, both Pandit and Fah recommended maintaining good safety habits whether there is an ALICE drill or not. Too often, rules such as locking classroom doors and not letting other students into the building, are only followed on ALICE drill days. In the long run, consistency will be a key component in keeping the students and staff of PVHS from being the next victims of a school shooting.