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Linn-Mar teachers, faculty get insight in active shooter response during ALICE drill

MARION, Iowa (KWWL) –As many Eastern Iowa teachers prepare to start school tomorrow, the Linn-Mar Community School District took advantage of the last days without students to go over safety drills.

During the last week of summer teachers and faculty at each school participated in an ALICE Active Shooting Response Training with the Marion Police Department.

A School Resource Officer with the Marion Police Department, Tom Daubs lead the training drills. While the buildings are equipt with security, such as secured entrances, the drill is an opportunity for teachers to think what would they do, should the worst happen.

“My first year as a school resources officer Sandy Hook happened, Dec. 14, 2012 and everyone realized we needed to do more to keep our kids safe,” said Officer Daubs.

That’s exactly what happened at Novak Elementary today, among others. The district has held training like this for several years. Each time the drills evolves. In past years, teachers and staff would be in a room together, this year, each person was in their usual classroom or office.

Linn-Mar Community School’s Communication Coordinator, Matthew May said it’s important training for student and teacher safety.

“The thing with ALICE is to always be assessing the scenario and to respond and react appropriately based on what is taking place,” said May.

Today, there were three drills lasting a maximum of three minutes, the average time it’d take first responders in this area. It was an opportunity for teachers to evaluate what resources they have and what steps they can take to deter someone.

“When those doors are locked it makes it harder for bad guys to get in. Then he has to go to another classroom, another classroom and that in and of itself is buying time,” said Officer Daubs, “It’s allowing for the teachers, staff, and students, although there were no students here today. That gives them time to get to a safe spot, evacuate, barricade the door, whatever that maybe.”

ALICE stands for and teaches alerting others, locking down, get information to police, countering, and evacuating.

“It really depends on what’s happening in that specific scenario and as it unfolds your options may change,” said May.

The idea of the drill is to give teachers insight and make them think what can they do to keep their students safe in those critical minutes until help arrives.

“If the bad guys over there and you can safely get out. Go. If the bad guy is near you, you can’t run now you hide, turn off the lights, make sure your door is locked, get out of sight,” said Daubs.

It’s not a scenario anyone wants to be in but as history has demonstrated, knowing how to respond can be life-saving.

“We want people who can respond first, your teachers, bus drivers, cooks, custodians. What can you do to help save the day until the police get there,” said Daubs.

This week drills are only for teachers and staff. The district holds three ALICE training drills a year.

In the past, the district has held an optional drill for parents who were interested in learning more.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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