Haverhill Schools Learn From ALICE Drills; Protocols Guide Responses to Active Intruder Situations

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

With the tragedy of school shootings becoming an all too often occurrence, Haverhill students and teachers have joined with schools across the country in preparing for such an event.

ALICE Protocols, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, have been in practice by Haverhill Public Schools since 2017. Haverhill’s Safe and Supportive Schools Liaison Maureen Irons, last week, gave the School Committee an update on how the program operates and what has been done so far this year.

“It’s a proactive set of responses to an active school intruder to prepare our staff and students to be better prepared during a crisis. Since May 4, we have completed 14 of the 17 schools. Three middle schools remain. Those are already scheduled and those will be in the next week and a half. They were scheduled, but we kind of put a pause after the tragedy in Texas,” she said.

Irons added although there was a slowdown in student practice drills during the height of COVID-19, training of teachers and other staff members continued with the help of Director of Guidance and Student Support Jami Dion, Facilities Director Stephen D. Dorrance and the Haverhill Police Department.

Irons said drills have been key in helping them to see areas where improvements can be made.

“One goal is to enhance communication and that’s in regards to intercom systems, radio activity, radios that we can have in the building. Secondly, access control in regards to the doors in regards to the way they lock, the way they open,” she said.

Irons said those issues are being dealt with now and she expects more drills and training, under the guidance of the Haverhill Police, will take place beginning in the fall of this year.

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