The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 10, 2013

Geneva schools to host open meeting on lockdown response

Star Beacon

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Geneva teachers and first responders will team up Thursday to inform parents about new emergency lockdown procedures at every district school.

School staff members are now trained in the Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) procedures and an open community meeting for parents and students will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Geneva High School on Route 84.

Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said the ALICE training was conducted by staff along with the Geneva Police Department, Geneva Fire Department and Northwest Ambulance District.

“In the past, schools across the country, including ours, have prepared by implementing a procedure known as ‘lockdown,’” she said, “This was designed as a response to an unauthorized person entering a school building or school grounds. When a lockdown alert is given, students and staff are instructed to lock down their classrooms and shelter in place.”

The training, held just before the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six adults, is funded by the district’s Parent Teacher Organization.

To further the efforts, the PTO also organized a “GO Bucket” system for each building.

The drives put a 5-gallon bucket filled with emergency supplies in each classroom, to be used in case of a lockdown.

Zappitelli said the ALICE training “was the right decision for the district.”

“We had been talking about the ALICE training for more than a year,” she said. “The PTO’s have been amazing in the way they stepped up and covered the costs.”

District staff will continue to train in the ALICE lockdown response program throughout the year, Zappitelli said.

Zappitelli said the community meeting will include a short presentation on ALICE procedures, as well as time for an open dialogue with the audience about school violence and prevention.