OHS prepares for new lock down procedures


Jack Kleeberger

OHS Magnet students barricade the classroom door in preparation for the new ALICE lockdown procedure

Jack Kleeberger, Writer

For more than a decade the ALICE training organization has been able to help thousands of schools, businesses, public facilities and individuals prepare themselves for an active shooter situation. In December of 2000, law enforcement in the Dallas Fort Worth area collaborated to devise a plan that ensured the safety of those who may find themselves in a dangerous situation. The result was ALICE ( Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) over the years, the ALICE organization has updated their methods and improved their training program through strategic new research and data collected over time. School shootings have seemingly become all too common in the U.S. Many public schools nationwide, Owatonna School District included, are adopting ALICE as a new lockdown procedure in response to this.

Over this past summer, the OHS sent Assistant Principal Hollie Jeska to Winona, Minn. for the training program. Over the course of this school year, the administrative office and local police have been working to train staff and figure out when and how to implement ALICE. The official school lockdown drill date, where students and teachers will be asked to simulate a shooting situation, will be held on Jan. 25.

In previous years, students and staff were taught to shut off the lights, close the door, sit in a corner of the room and wait until local police arrive at the shooting scene. Owatonna Public Schools has been putting a major emphasis on safety. Updating video cameras and visitor policies, and access doors. Not only do they want to keep kids safe, but they especially want students to feel safe on campus. One of the key factors to ALICE is alerting the school. Assistant Principal Jeska said, “ Alerts over our phone system will be very specific, we will try to be as transparent as possible so there is no confusion among students.” Implementing ALICE as the new lockdown procedure will also greatly increase the chances of survival by teaching students and staff how to barricade doors, use items around them as protection and break through windows when necessary. Liaison Officer Brady Vaith said, “ It gives people options in a tough situation, look for an exit, look for ways to protect yourself using the things around you.”

OHS hopes that the new ALICE methods will be a safe and effective way to prepare students for years to come. Students at OHS are happy to see the switch over to ALICE, sophomore Dylan Eckert said, “I personally don’t think that the old lockdown procedure could stop anyone because they could easily break through the windows or doors.” The second semester at OHS is set to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22 and the first ALICE drill will happen on  Friday, Jan. 25.