Requirement of A.L.I.C.E training keeps students and faculty prepared

Madison MacArthur

As school shootings continue to occur more frequently, Sgt. Michquel Penn, of KSU Police, looks back at how the A.L.I.C.E Program has adapted over the years.

Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (A.L.I.C.E) helps students, faculty and staff become prepared for an active shooter situation.

“When we started out, it wasn’t mandated for freshmen. It was part of the student success program where students have the option to choose it,” Penn said. “So, these were some steps that was a process for us to get to where we are today.”

The program did not become required of all incoming freshmen until after April 2nd, 2014 when there was a campus lockdown due to a shooting in the Bowman parking lot. Resource Officer Tricia Knoles attributes this update to when Kent State had a lockdown due to shots being fired.

“By the beginning of this year we’ve had every incoming freshmen through their senior year go through A.L.I.C.E training at least one time, if not more,” Knoles said.

Knoles organizes all A.L.I.C.E workshops that are offered on the regional and the main campuses. The sessions are required of all freshmen, but there are also ones available for faculty and staff.

Between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, there were 30 student sessions, as well as 13 faculty and staff sessions scheduled on top of requests.

“The (faculty and staff) typically have more questions, because they’re the ones who would be a little more involved if something should happen, getting people to safety or whatnot,” Knoles said.

According to her, as of now it is not required for transfer students to partake in the training, but that they are looking to possibly change it so that they are required to take it as well.

There are departments on campus that require an additional certificate, such as educational fields and nursing. Penn knows that it is important for these departments to be prepared.

“I think it’s vital, period, that we’d get all of our students and faculty prepared, you know, information wise, especially for those programs,” Penn said. “Nursing, they are dealing with the public just like we are here at the university and then, unfortunately we see so many tragic shootings taking place at the schools it’s definitely vital for the student teachers as well.”

Knoles agreed, saying that by having these small sessions that it gives the students the opportunity to ask questions that they might not have as freshmen.

In addition to A.L.I.C.E, the Emergency Management Plan is available for anyone to look through online, Knoles said.

“That covers any type of man-made or weather-type emergency and how we would handle that. We, now with A.L.I.C.E training, recommend everyone just take a quick look through that,” Knoles said.  “Just so that they’re aware of how we would handle a situation.”

With the 19 school shootings that have occurred thus far in 2018, Penn said the university is as prepared as it can be.

“If there was an incident such as that here at Kent State… they will have some tools that can help them,” Penn said.

Penn also noticed that as time has passed, the training has become more widespread. She notices more students having already gone through this type of training.

“My thing with that… is mental preparedness,” she said.  “You know, mentally telling yourself that this could happen, this could happen to me here, in school, this could happen to me, in my career later and work wherever it can happen anywhere.”

Knoles said a refresher on the training would be positive for anyone on campus.

“It’s free training, and it only takes a short 90 minutes of their time, and sometimes even a little less, and it’s open to all faculty, students and staff.”

Sergeant Penn wants students, faculty and staff to be able to ask themselves what they would do, and be able to use A.L.I.C.E to answer it.

“What would I do if I got a Flash Alert and I’m in class? Then, they’re (able to be) doing those things instead of just giving up and not doing anything,” Penn said.

Madison MacArthur is the diversity reporter. Contact her at [email protected].