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One Park Center Ct. Suite A Manassas Park VA 20111 703.335.8850

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School Safety

Manassas Park City Schools has adopted enhanced safety procedures that we, as well as the experts across the country, believe will increase the chance of survival should an armed intruder enter our schools. These enhanced procedures provide our staff and students additional response options by utilizing the A.L.I.C.E. approach.

Alert - Get the word out! Use clear, concise language to convey the type and location of the event
Lockdown - We will continue to lock down students when it is the best option
Inform - Communication allows for good decision-making
Counter - Apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control
Evacuate - Get out! Put distance between you and the intruder

In short, when faced with an armed intruder invading our secure area, we will use the A.L.I.C.E. approach to:

- Listen carefully to the location and type of event
- Get to and/or remain in a secure area until it is safe to evacuate
- Apply skills to distract, confuse and gain control should an armed intruder enter the area
- Evacuate as soon as it is safe

In No Way are we asking or teaching our students to make any attempt to subdue an armed intruder. However, we will provide them with options that can be applied if faced with a life or death situation to enhance their chances for survival. Some of the methods that will be taught, in the event they are confronted by an armed intruder are:

- Cause distractions to interfere with the ability to shoot accurately
- Cause as much chaos in the room as possible to create sensory overload
- Do not be a stationary target
- How to control the attacker using body weight
- Where to go once you have escaped, i.e. identified reunification point

ALiCE Program FAQ

Do people need to follow A.L.i.C.E in order? Are you supposed to Alert, then lockdown, then inform?

A.L.i.C.E is NOT meant to be a check list of things to do. It is a list of choices we are offering our students and staff in order to stay safe in the highly unlikely event of an armed intruder. Some may choose to evacuate and some may choose to lockdown and barricade. Others may be forced to counter if an armed intruder is able to enter the space they are in. A.L.i.C.E is about giving people choices.

Is the adoption of the A.L.i.C.E Protocol an admission that the schools are not safe?

School is still the safest place for children to be. However, just like practicing what we should do in a fire with our monthly fire drills, we want to be sure that we will know what to do in the very unlikely event of an armed intruder in school.

If my child gets proactive in an emergency situation, couldn’t they get hurt?

Yes, they could. But being passive and static has not shown to be an effective response in most Active Shooter events. The differences of tragic outcomes in the classrooms at Virginia Tech are a good example explaining the difference of passive and active and determining survival chances.

Is there a possibility of secondary attacks if people are trying to leave the area?

There is always a possibility of a secondary attack, no matter what the event. But our fear of the unknown should not interfere with our manner of dealing with the known. Common sense says a shooter inside the building should dictate getting out, much more than the fear of perhaps another shooter outside should dictate staying inside with the known shooter. Any shooters outside will be contacted and neutralized by police much quicker than one inside the building.

Should we be teaching aggression in schools?

This training is teaching proactive, survival skills. Aggressiveness is a mindset that will assist a person in putting those skills to work.

How will parents be notified if their child’s school is in lockdown?

Notification will be sent out using the PowerSchool notification system both by voice and by email.

Isn’t this what the police are for?

The police cannot be at all places, all of the time. The average response time for law enforcement is 5-6 minutes. Hundreds of rounds can be expended in just mere minutes. A.L.i.C.E. is a protocol that is enacted to increase survival and safety in those minutes that Law Enforcement is enroute.

Will MPPD be in schools to help teachers become aware of surrounding and provide scenarios/possibilities for an active shooter situation?

Each school year, MPCS AliCE Certfied Instructors along with Manassas Park Police Department train new staff members as well as provide refresher training for all staff in order to reinforce the ALiCE program.

Do we want the bad guy to know that we know where he is?

There is nothing we could tell him that he doesn’t already know.

Won’t proactive actions agitate the gunman to commit violence?

It is accepted that these people seek one thing – as big a body count as they can achieve in the time afforded to them. There is no way to make a determined killer be more violent than they are already.

Will teaching staff and students to be proactive increase our liability?

Regardless of what policy is in place, should a violent event occur on the campus, all involved agencies, and individuals, will be sued. How should we set ourselves up to defend our actions: We set out a precise set of procedures for potential victims to follow (and it didn’t work), or, We provided information a range of options that those in danger could follow based on their situation at any given moment during the event.

Who should make the decision as to what is the best option to take?

Those under attack should make the decision that is best for them given the situation. It is unrealistic to think we can write a policy that ten years down the road will precisely fit the violent situation we are experiencing. Information and training is what will allow those under attack to make an informed decision to Fight, Flight, or Freeze, and that will lead to their survival.

Won’t we lose control of the event if people make their own decision and do whatever they decide they need to do??

Yes, there will be a time when centralized Command and Control will be lost. But in actuality, there is anyway. During the initial attack, the attacker is in control. Proactive action on behalf of the targets, will quickly remove his Command and Control. Also, Command and Control ability of the Administration and Police is secondary to the ability of those under attack to survive.

Why change something that has always worked?

Has “Lockdown” really worked, or have just the practice drills always worked? We know the names of many schools around the world precisely because “Lockdown” did not meet their needs during the violence, and tragedy ensued.

Could we be training our future “enemy”?

Yes, we could. But there could very well be a deterrent effect caused due to this training if the future attacker knows their goals of a body-count will be very limited at this institution.

How will the information be presented to children at the Elementary and Intermediate levels?

All drills and training will be age appropriate. MPCS and MPPD are working together to be sure that we do not scare or confuse elementary students while at the same time getting them the information they need if an event occurs. Secondary students will also participate in age-appropriate training with scenarios. No surprise drills that involve a pretend active shooter will ever be held in MPCS with students.