The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 14, 2013

Students informed on lockdown procedures

GENEVA — Alisa Schroeder flinches at the loud ‘pop’ from the hallway, even though the Cork Elementary first grade teacher knows the noise is coming.

That noise — the sound of a gunshot in a school building, is Schroeder’s worst nightmare and she is determined to protect her students in any way she can, starting with a lesson.

Schroeder is an instructor for the Geneva Area City School District’s emergency Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate (ALICE) procedures.

She said she felt helpless when the school conducted lock down drills.

“Every time we would have a lock down, I felt completely helpless,” she said. “I would lock the door and stand in my classroom with my students. It was ridiculous.”

Geneva students took the day off school, as permitted by the Ohio Department of Education, so district teachers, staff and administrators could spend the day at Geneva High School, learning the ALICE procedures, along with CPR and automated electronic defibrillator training, Perry Nuclear Power Plant emergency planning and first aid.

Teachers in the ALICE class learned to disarm intruders, organize evacuations, and assess the sounds of a violent emergency, including the difference between a gunshot and the sounds of construction or school activity.

“We all need to know what to do,” Schroeder said. “The things we are learning here today we can use to stop violence in the post office, the grocery store and in movie theaters. We can stop violence if we are proactive.”

Geneva Middle School teacher Annah Haeseler said she doesn’t think about violence as she teaches her classes, but she knows the possibility is out there.

“I don’t think about it day to day,” she said, “but you never think it will happen at your school. Now I think we all realize that it can happen anywhere and it feels good to be prepared.”

Geneva Middle School librarian Becky Caskey said she knew teachers would have to have some training after the recent violence in schools across the country.

“It’s sad that we have to do this, but I know that I could make a real difference with this training. This could save a life.”

Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said she was impressed with the “honest participation” of the staff.

“I think everyone is taking this very seriously,” she said.

Zappitelli said the ALICE training is “never ending” and will evolve with the needs of the district and the changing elements of school violence and emergencies.

“This will always be ongoing,” she said. “We will never be done. We will continue to train and continue with awareness. We want options in the case of an emergency situation. This training gives us options.”

Zappitelli said the ALICE training doesn’t cost the district any money, and the program has been financially supported by the district’s Parent Teacher Organiza-tion, Waste Management and the Geneva Rotary, which organized and funded the district’s “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.  

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