A.L.I.C.E. training more geared toward students this year

Daniel Moore

The number of A.L.I.C.E. training classes has tripled, which gives students more opportunities to sharpen their ability to react in dangerous situations.

Joe Hendry, Kent State University Police Department lieutenant, said the program is designed to prepare students to handle any situation with an armed assailant.

Hendry has been teaching A.L.I.C.E. classes for over a year. He said while the 90-minute class has always been open to students, this year he is targeting them. With the expected influx of students, he said, it makes sense to triple the number of classes.

“It was always the plan to expand it out,” Hendry said. “We have 40,000 students and three instructors.”

“We want people to be aware of where the exits are, to look around and know what to do if someone pulls a gun or a knife,” he said.

A.L.I.C.E., which stands for Alert, Lockdown, Information, Counter and Evacuation, was created by two retired SWAT team officers after the Columbine massacre. Before Columbine, he said, people were taught to “lock the doors, close the blinds and wait for police.”

Hendry argues the method is outdated and puts students in danger because police cannot see into classrooms if the blinds are closed.

“Police changed their mindset after Columbine, but we have not done that with the civilian population. Hopefully, through A.L.I.C.E., we change that,” he said.

Hendry said that compared with the traditional lockdown method used by high schools across Ohio, A.L.I.C.E. is more fluid and flexible to situations.

“A.L.I.C.E. allows you to make decisions based on what your info is and what you know,” he said.

Jordan Ternes is a freshman business management major, who, along with all other business majors, was required to attend an A.L.I.C.E. class. She said what she thought was going to be a boring lecture turned out to be much more engaging.

“It taught me that everything I learned in high school was wrong,” she said.

Still, she added, only faculty should be required to take the class, not students.

Hendry acknowledged some students may feel like they could handle a situation without the help of A.L.I.C.E., but he said if students don’t think about the possibility of a gunman on campus, bad things will happen.

“It’s not really a self defense class,” he said. “Study after study shows most people are caught so off guard that if you’ve been trained to lockdown, that is what you’ll do.”

Students can register for A.L.I.C.E. classes online at www.kent.edu/success. The next scheduled class is Nov. 19.

E-mail sports reporter Daniel Moore at [email protected].