BY CAROL HICKS
HOOPESTON — Several Hoopeston Area school district administrators attended an Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate (ALICE) training in Champaign last week to learn a new method of dealing with an intruder with a gun in a school building.
Superintendent Hank Hornbeck told board members Thursday following the first simulated shooting, which used the present method taught administrators and teachers, "It's amazing how many emotions you go through when waiting for the shooter when a window is there to escape through," Hornbeck said.
The present training for gun-toting intruders is to lock the classroom, turn off the lights, draw window shades, keep quiet, hide under something and wait for help to arrive. This traditional lockdown procedure might be getting people killed, Shawn Slezak, the national training officer, told the administrators during the two-day session.
After Sandy Hook and the other school shootings, the federal government began to think differently. This new way of thinking was to empower students and teachers to make their own decisions to give everyone a better chance of survival.
The ALICE training teaches the students and teachers to run, hide or fight. If a window is available or another exit, use them.
The second simulated shooting used the ALICE training, said Hornbeck, and fewer people were killed.
"When it comes down to it, we need to think about this other option," Hornbrck said.
He plans to discuss this method with the administrators and staff and make plans to train them on the ALICE method of lockdown procedurs.
In other school board business, board members unanimously approved the Hoopeston Marching Band trip to Altlanta in December 2014 to attend the January Bowl game and the calendar waiver for Martin Luther King, President Abraham Lincoln and Casmimir Pulaski's birthday, Christopher Columbus Day and Veterans Day as school attendance days.
Also, board members board approved unanimously the creation of a district webmaster and middle school dean of students and district athletic director as presented with job descriptions for both presented at the January board meeting.
The next Hoopeston school board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16.