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Dayton schools approve new training to react to violent intruders

Dayton schools will take a new approach to handling violent intruders or other dangerous situations next school year, after the school board on Tuesday approved $68,850 for three years of ALICE training.

ALICE is a safety approach calling for people in a school to “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate,” when faced with a threat. Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said in recent years, Dayton schools have used only lockdown procedures, with students and staff locking themselves in classrooms in case of a threat.

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“It’s a matter of reacting differently than just hiding and trying to stay in a locked classroom,” Lolli told the board last week. “It involves a fight-and-flight avenue (and) it involves someone who’s monitoring your cameras continuously and making announcements so people know where the intruder is.”

Security staff and some school building administrators will go through the “violent intruder response training” from the ALICE Training Institute LLC. That group will then train the rest of the district’s staff, and eventually the students, on proper procedures.

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Lolli said the move is based on a recommendation from Richard Wright, the district’s executive director of safety and security.

“It’s a process that’s been used around the country and proven to be most effective when it’s done well,” Lolli said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to keep our students safe, keep our staff safe, and continue to work on making sure that the possibility of anything happening in our schools is very, very limited.”

Locally, the Madison district near Middletown had a school shooting in 2016, and the West Liberty-Salem district north of Springfield had one in 2017. Like many other districts, Dayton schools have had lockdowns in recent years when someone has brought a weapon to school, or when police are searching for a suspect nearby, among other situations.

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