By TERRY GROOVER
As teachers huddled in their classrooms, the sound of pop, pop, pop could be heard down the hallway.
It was getting closer.
Would the teachers hide? Would they lock their doors? Would they confront the assailant? Or would they try to escape?
Those were all questions that needed to be answered.
Fortunately, what the teachers were facing was only a simulation set up by the Yukon School District and the police department.
It was a form of active-shooter training, and every teacher in the Yukon district was required to go through a session on Tuessday.
Lance Haggard, executive director of elementary education services for the Yukon School District, said the school system offers the ALICE training to better prepare teachers for the unthinkable — someone entering their schools with violence on their mind.
“We did ALICE training two years ago with all of the staff. The plan is to do it every other year,” he said.
ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
The program was developed by David Crane, a law enforcement officer in Texas, following a school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Jersey.
Crane’s wife is a teacher and he asked what kind of protective measures they had in place, said Haggard.
The answer prompted him to develop the ALICE system.
“It is lock-down training, but it also teaches them to be proactive,” Haggard said.
“It gives teachers some strategies to not be a sitting duck. It gives them proactive strategies,” he said.
More than 1 million people have participated in the training.
“It is tailored toward what you need. It helps someone make survival decisions based on the circumstances,” Haggard said. “It raises the bar on school security.”
Twenty years ago, very few educators worried about dangers in the classroom. Then the shooting at Columbine High School happened.
“Schools didn’t have to deal with this prior to Columbine,” Haggard said.
Today, it is a constant worry for educators.
Fortunately, Yukon has never had an active-shooter situation. But, Haggard said the training will help should one ever occur.
“This trains them to respond and counter instead of wating for it to happen,” he said.
Yukon Police Chief John Corn said it is a good program.
“It is realistic,” said Corn. “It gives practical training on determining the best options. Is that hide, is it fight or is it flight, and what resources are available.”
Corn said the program is designed to train teachers from kindergarten up to high school.
“This helps that kindergarten teacher be able to provide as much safety as she can be trained to do for her class of kindergarteners,” he said. “It’s great that we’re able to provide that training.”
The training is free, other than the time that it takes for the class.
The class was conducted by the city’s three school resource officers, all of whom are certified instructors.
“If we can extend that window by giving the teachers and the principals in the district some way to extend that safety window for themselves and the students, it’s created more time for us,” Corn said. “It gives us time to get in and address the issue or problem, take an action and, hopefully, they wouldn’t have to at all.”
Haggard said the training went well.
“We had a good discussion before and after what occurred. It was very productive,” Haggard said.