BCPS introduces new active assailant training program
For two years, Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) has been partnering with the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD) to seek out solutions to prevent and lessen the impact of a potential attack in a county school.
“The first thing we did was look at research,” executive director for the BCPS
Department of School Safety, April Lewis, said.
“In an unlikely event there is an active assailant, people should have options,” she added.
According to Lewis, research indicates that groups of people that took a different approach other than lockdown, or in combination with lockdown, during a school shooting had fewer causalities.
During the summer, 332 BCPS administrators, central office staff, teachers and law enforcement participated in a two-day certification course provided by the ALICE
Alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate (ALICE) enhances productive responses to combat active assailants.
BCPS went with the ALICE training model because they had experience with schools, e-learning modules and they provided instruction so each school can have their own in-house certified instructor, according to Lewis.
Over 17,000 BCPS employees received an email link to take an online course as a prerequisite to the face-toface training.
Once the school year started, BCPS faculty and staff were instructed to teach students the new protocol and engage them in exercises
and drills throughout the school year.
The first week of school, teachers were to go over ALICE guidelines and by the end of the month, each school should have completed their first lockdown drill, with new steps and then everybody will practice evacuating, according to Lewis.
Parents received information via email to keep them advised on the new safety measures.
Del. Bob Long (R-6) withdrew the Baltimore CountyPublic Schools-Active Assailant Event Training bill he initiated in the 2017 General Assembly session because BCPS promised to implement some type of safety training in their schools.
“I started to get concerned that our schools were not prepared for this horrific situation after attending a few seminars,” Long explained. “I fought to change policies to ensure a safer learning environment for our students, teachers and faculty.”
“I’m glad that BCPS has kept their promise and that our teachers are receiving the proper training,” Long said.