ALICE in Groton

If there is ever a threat on campus, what should we do? Do we lockdown? Do we run? Do we counter?
On September 15th, Detective Rachel Mead answered these questions, presenting a new, government-recommended lockdown protocol that Groton will be adopting. Whereas the previous lockdown-only procedures created readily identifiable targets, as highlighted through various school shootings throughout the past few years, the new ALICE protocol allows for more choices in active response to any intruder.
According to, ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) addresses various responses to a potential threat by recommending different options. With the flexibility to use group judgment to assess specific circumstances, ALICE allows us to decide on the best course of action. The 2013 US Department of Education’s guidance for active shooters states that a “Lockdown-Only” response to an active shooter no longer meets government recommendations, and that “those in harm’s way should make their own decisions.”
Alert is overcoming denial, recognizing the signs of danger and receiving notifications about the danger from others.
Lockdown means barricading the room, preparing to evacuate or counter if needed; this is for circumstances where evacuation is not a safe option. In the new STEM classrooms with glass walls, Ms. Lincoln suggests running through the classrooms to the storage room and hiding, or escaping if possible. She said that Lawrence Academy has a very similar layout (open glass science classrooms), and when she observed their lockdown drill, she could not see students hidden in more concealed rooms.
Inform refers to communicating the intruder’s location and direction, because, as Detective Mead pointed out, the situation will be unpredictable. Clear information reporting the intruder’s whereabouts may confuse him. Ms. Lincoln is fine-tuning our loudspeaker system, and will soon hold an accountability drill to ensure that it is effective. Making an informed decision is crucial to the safety of students.
Counter is NOT fighting. It is creating noise, movement, distance and distraction with the intent of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot accurately. While we will not practice this in any of our lockdown drills, groups will be able to discuss and implement a plan to distract the intruder.
Evacuate means removing oneself from the danger zone. At Groton, this could mean jumping from a first-floor window or leaving from the back door of a classroom.
All Groton faculty were trained with the ALICE program last year, and Detective Mead will come to discuss and explain the best responses for different classrooms.
ALICE gives us the choice to run, seek a secure hiding place, lockdown, or counter, all in an effort to survive and protect others from harm. It recognizes that individuals should use their own judgment to assess a situation for the best thing to do. Though success is not guaranteed, this new set of skills will greatly increase the odds of safety should we face an intruder at Groton.