Onalaska High School hosts active shooter training

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ONALASKA, Wis. (WEAU) -- As the school year approaches, school administrators in the Coulee Region are learning skills they hope they never have to use: how to stop an active shooter.

Schools and police officers from Onalaska and surrounding school districts went through a two-day training program called "ALICE."

"ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate," said Melissa Arps, an instructor for the ALICE Training Institute. "Really what it does is it gives people options to respond in crisis situations. And the whole point of it is to increase survivability.”

The program focuses on proactive responses to dangerous situations, and giving people the options to stop a shooter before the police arrive.

“Lockdown isn't good enough anymore," said Arps. "It hasn't been good enough for a long time. It was never intended for an inside threat. It was created for outside threats. So we've been using something that really is not good for a long time and we're seeing that as these shootings take place more and more that it's not good, it's not increasing survivability. We need to teach people to be their own first responders.”

The participants went through a variety of active shooter simulations in the halls of Onalaska High School. Those drills couldn't be shown on film for the participants' privacy, but they say they clearly demonstrated the difference between the ALICE program and traditional lockdown procedures used in the past.”

Anna Curtis / Associate Principal, Onalaska High School
“It opened all of our eyes to how in the education world we need to continue to look at ways to grow and improve, not only to educate our children but keeping them safe," said Anna Curtis, Associate Principal of Onalaska High School.

The ALICE Training Institute is a nationwide program that's been used in over a thousand police departments and schools since 2001.

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