In The Schools

New Active Shooter Procedures to be Adapted in Montville Twp Schools

Ptl Scott McGowan explains A.L.I.C.E. Credits: Melissa Benno
Ptl Scott McGowan explains A.L.I.C.E. Credits: Melissa Benno

MONTVILLE, NJ – In the past, Montville Township schools have utilized lockdown procedures in the case of a perceived danger event not involving fire. This means that staff and employees have been trained to lock windows and doors and hide students from entrance doors when emergency protocols are invoked. This is referred to as a “lockdown.” It is used, for example, in the event that an unauthorized person has gained access to a school, such as if an active shooter situation occurred.

However, research shows that more can be done to ensure safety, so the district is adding to the lockdown procedure, training students and employees in what is known as “A.L.I.C.E.”

A.L.I.C.E. stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, and according to experts, this procedure increases the chance of survival in the event of an active shooter scenario.

Sign Up for E-News

Patrolman Scott McGowan of the Montville Township Police Department has made several presentations at parent-teacher organization meetings across the district, including a meeting held May 24 at MTHS.

McGowan stressed that the new procedure will not replace the lockdown procedure but be an enhancement. Since the 2014 emergency button press lockdown at MTHS that resulted in the county’s SWAT team response but was a false alarm (see TAPinto Montville’s article here: False Alarm), changes have been made to decrease false alarms while improving safety, such as installing non see-through film in the cafeteria windows at the school.

The “alert” portion of the acronym involves giving more information about the problem than before. A lockdown used to be announced with a simple message, but A.L.I.C.E. procedures recommend using more specific information, such as, “intruder in front of the office,” or similar, McGowan said. This will allow those in the farthest portions of the building to make different decisions, he said.

The “lockdown” idea has changed too, McGowan said. Instead of simply locking the door, further barricade methods should be involved, such as placing all the desks in the room against the door. This makes a time barrier as well, he said.

“Informing” is important too, McGowan said, because of the fluidity of the situation. Reliable information via text or other methods has to keep flowing.

McGowan said to “counter” the shooter with chaos and distraction. If all of the students are huddled in the corner when he or she enters, the students are easy targets. But distraction, chaos and movement are needed to stay safe.

“This is a last resort, but if somebody comes into your classroom, you’ve got to do something,” McGowan said. “Throw books! We don’t want yelling if we’re in lockdown, but just if the shooter enters.”

“Evacuate” is the last portion of the acronym.

“Movement and distance are your best friends,” McGowan said. “The farther you can get away, the less likely you are to be shot, or to be killed from a shot. You’re making yourself a harder target.”

However, McGowan cautioned against using a vehicle to evacuate, because police need to identify the occupants before allowing it to leave, diverting them from school protection.

“Evacuation should be done using the enhanced information we discussed,” McGowan said. “You shouldn’t be leaving your classroom using the front door if it’s been announced that the shooter is right outside of it.”

McGowan assured parents that those who have left the building would eventually be accounted for.

“I have two children myself,” he said. “The waiting will be terrible but trust me, you’ll find them.”

He said that special education classrooms would have accommodations to set up barricading variations. He said the meeting point for parents and students is a highly unlikely point for the shooters to retry their attack because of the heavy police presence. He said fire drills typically take five minutes to evacuate the entire building, so it should not be a problem that the innocent students and staff will get in the way of police apprehending the suspects. He advised everyone evacuating to have empty hands with no black cell phones just in case.

“We’re not advising someone to go wrestle someone with a gun in the hallway,” McGowan said. “Countering is a last resort. If someone comes into our classroom with a gun, we need to do something as opposed to nothing.”

McGowan has completed presentations to the faculty in each building. The training will continue as each school conducts drills on the A.L.I.C.E. approach beginning in the fall. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2f5e22fedbc0839027fd_township_logo

Tue, August 8, 8:00 PM

Municipal Building, Montville

Montville Township Committee Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_8a05ed9e1458d6aa68ae_img_8465a

Tue, August 22, 7:45 PM

Montville Township High School, Montville

Montville Township Board of Education Meeting

Education

Carousel_image_2f5e22fedbc0839027fd_township_logo

Tue, August 22, 8:00 PM

Municipal Building, Montville

Montville Township Committee Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_8a05ed9e1458d6aa68ae_img_8465a

Tue, September 5, 7:45 PM

Municipal Building, Montville

Montville Township Board of Education Meeting

Education

Carousel_image_2f5e22fedbc0839027fd_township_logo

Tue, September 12, 8:00 PM

Municipal Building, Montville

Montville Township Committee Meeting

Government

Township Committee Says Farewell to Montville Township Clerk

July 20, 2017

MONTVILLE, NJ - Montville Township Mayor James Sandham said, “Tonight is a sad night and a happy night for the Township Committee.” After 24 years of service to Montville Township, Township Clerk Trudy Atkinson will be retiring as of July 31. The township will be losing one of its most efficient and dedicated employees.

Atkinson was honored at the ...

Meet the Leaders of Montville Township: Trudy Atkinson, Montville Township Municipal Clerk

July 1, 2017

MONTVILLE, NJ - Trudy Atkinson, Montville Township’s municipal clerk, will be retiring as of July 31, and the township will be losing one of its most efficient and dedicated employees.

She is pleased to say that she served under nine mayors and five administrators. “I enjoyed working for Montville Township for these past 24 years!” Atkinson stated.

A municipal clerk ...

Call to Duty for Somerville Firefighters: A Visit to NJ Firemen's Home

July 22, 2017

BOONTON, NJ - The call to duty Saturday for 50 Somerville volunteer firefighters wasn’t about responding to an alarm or a training drill. It was driving the half hour to the New Jersey Firemen’s Home to host a memorable outing for those who served before them.

A caravan of Somerville’s “bravest” gave up a good portion of their day to hold a barbecue picnic ...

Montclair Police Arrest 20-Year-Old Suspect for Nearly Two Dozen Crimes

July 19, 2017

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair Police have arrested and charged a 20-year-old Newark man with nearly two-dozen crimes related to motor vehicle theft and vehicle burglaries. 

Lt. David O'Dowd of the Montclair Police Department stated that on July 14, "...officers were dispatched to a report of a subject looking into parked vehicles on Wildwood Avenue." 

He stated that ...

Re/Max Neighborhood Properties Open Houses this Sunday!

July 21, 2017

Click HERE to see all Open Houses!

Columns

Open Houses this Weekend by Century 21 The Crossing

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 The Crossings Open Houses for Sunday 7/23/2017:

3 Stephen Drive, Montville 1 - 3 p.m.
23 Charlemagne Place, Montville 1 - 4 p.m.

Importance of Routines for Family, Sanity and Creativity

Some folks say that routines and predictability are boring.  That may be true, but boring can be a good thing.  In today’s article,  we’re going to explore the benefits of routines for everyone, from toddlers to adults.  Resource links are included throughout the article. I’ll reveal a few of my challenges in this area as well.

Without routines and ...

'Skeleton Crew' hits home

UNION, NJ – Premiere Stages, in its quest for new, richly layered plays, is now presenting “Skeleton Crew” by Dominique Morrisseau.

The playwright had her play “Follow Me to Nellie’s” work shopped at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in Connecticut several years ago. That was followed by s fine production at the Kean University ...

Pet Corner