Training program teaches faculty, staff, students what to do in school shooting

Eighty percent of police officers miss their targets while about 50 percent of school shooters are hitting their targets, according to the A.L.i.C.E program given in the Otto M. Budig Theatre on March 26.

It may seem outlandish that school shooters are more on target than your trained police department but professors of criminal justice Melissa Moon and Cheryl Jonson along with Jason Willis, director of University Police, explained that it is because of a tactic taught in schools, the “lockdown.”

Lockdown is a term widely used in the public school system where students are taught to lock the classroom door, turn off the lights and sit on the floor. The negative side to this, according to Moon, is that it’s like “sitting ducks.”

There are 237 school shootings to date and public institutions are high-priority terrorist targets, according to Moon.

“This isn’t meant to scare you, but it’s a wake up call folks,” Moon said. “Sandy Hook was a wake up call to everyone. We’ve had elementary school shootings before, but not to that capacity.”

The A.L.i.C.E program: alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, was created to give students more options if they were in a high-risk shooting situation. Moon said the Columbine shooting in the library lasted seven and a half minutes and that most shootings happen in under 10. A recreation of the Columbine shooting was shown at the beginning of the program.

“Most people generally remember the shooters and not the victims,” Moon said. The number one reason shootings happen is for the excessive media attention.

Jonson suggested to do anything that buys you time during a shooting.

“Guns aren’t allowed on campus, but we both carry hammers to class,” Jonson said speaking about her and Moon’s preparedness for a shooting situation.

The A.L.i.C.E program focused a lot on barricading classrooms to keep the shooter out as long as possible.

“The Virginia Tech Norris Hall fatality rates were lower in rooms where they were active in barricading and evacuating,” Jonson said.

Jonson threw in a lighthearted joke and said that tampons would be the perfect temporary wound treatment because they, like gunshot wounds, are round.

Willis said that the campus police department is just as ready as any other department to respond to a shooting situation.

“Response may be in teams of officers, but the first officer to the scene makes all the difference,” Willis said.

Dates for the A.L.i.C.E. program can be found at