Alice in Our Schools

Sam Schaper, Staff Writer

Students have noticed recently just how many ALICE drills have been put in place this 2018-19 school year at Olathe North High School. And they are right, especially with all of the lessons and mandatory Powerpoints shown during Advisory, students are concerned as to the implications or validity of the increased amount of active shooter drills.

Within the last few years, shootings have become more and more common. In 2018 alone there were thirty school shootings. That’s just in schools, and doesn’t include infamous instances such as the shooting at Austin’s Bar and Grill and a gay nightclub in Florida, Pulse. With the amount of violence dramatically increasing from day to day, it is more important than ever to know what to do in the event of an active shooter entering school or the workplace.

The newest and most efficient procedure is called the ALICE drill. Years ago, schools would practice “Code Red” every so often; students would hide in the corner, cover their heads and wait out the threat. The ineffectiveness of this practice was revealed and a change needed to be made. These days, schools are doing ALICE drills increasingly often. ALICE drills involve the students and teacher barricading the door if the shooter is nearby, attacking if the shooter gets in, or evacuating the school if the armed perpetrator is farther away in the school.

Spanish teacher, Gersom Paredes is an administrative intern placed in charge of ALICE drills at Olathe North High School. Paredes said that the purpose of ALICE drills is not to make students paranoid but to educate them about what to do in a dire, life or death situation. “Gun violence does not discriminate nor care who you are or where you are from,” Paredes states. While it’s good, of course, to be prepared, the increased number of safety drills are affecting the students.

Cullen Luttrell, a Distinguished Scholars Political Science student, says that he feels that students are definitely paranoid but rightly so. With the frequency with which shootings are occurring and the ease with which one can acquire a firearm in the country, it’s hard for students not to become paranoid. “It reassures me that school districts are trying to do something in the wake of this growing threat” but “at its core [ALICE drills] don’t actively fight against gun violence,” Luttrell says.

With this growing, violent epidemic, the district felt it would be beneficial to practice ALICE drills more and run through protocols for dangerous hypotheticals. While it may be stressful, the thought of a place that you feel safe, a place that you visit so often being invaded by an active shooter, the drills are for the safety of you and your friends.