BCPS in­tro­duces new ac­tive as­sailant train­ing pro­gram

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By CHAR­LENE MAYO cmahyo@ches­pub.com

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

in­sti­tute.

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.

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