Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ALICE, Part 1

Alice, as in down the rabbit hole? Yes, in a way -- we are certainly dropping fast down this particular hole. Here I mean "Alice" as in A.L.I.C.E. Training. Your national propaganda terror in the schools program that teaches staff and students to be prepared. ("I'm Not Scared, I'm Prepared!")

A.L.I.C.E. : Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate

Propaganda, mind control, social engineering, anxiety buzz kept at a barely audible but nonetheless effective level by the post 9/11, totalitarian state. It's fear mongering, it's rabid patriotism verging on religious fervor. It's contradictory. It's another for profit organization reaping its money via the educational infrastructure. And, as usual in these scenarios, has nothing to do with students in the context of learning or needs.

Do ALICE training tactics put students, teachers at risk? - School SecuritySchool Security: These and other examples have left a number of veteran school security, psychologists and law enforcement professionals with serious implementation concerns, doubts and objections to A.L.I.C.E.

Police officers cannot answer age, developmental, special needs, or policy questions
In two spirited workshops at a state conference in Wisconsin earlier this week, police officers advocating for A.L.I.C.E. or similar models remained unable to answer questions about how, if at all, these training programs account for age and developmental factors, special needs children (autistic, mobility impaired, behavioral and emotional disorders, etc.), and other child-centered and preK-12 school-specific concerns. (School Security.org)

And so, this drill, this "training," is coming to my school district. As an employee, it is "expected" I take this training. Other near by school districts come right out and say it is "mandatory" but mine, so far, nothing on that word. No one has asked either, as far as I can tell. Some assume it is mandatory, confusing "expected" with mandatory. Yet our district doesn't have anything up on their website. Other nearby districts are more specific and direct. It is mandatory to take the training, and there are descriptions about the training on their websites.

. . . elementary schools across the state received copies of “I’m Not Scared, I’m Prepared,” and the accompanying activity workbook, in an effort to provide these schools with materials to better prepare elementary students for violent intruder situations. [underline and bold mine] (www.alicetraining.com

There's another reason this training bothers me, and it's very personal. I have severe anxiety and some PTSD -- like many of us. Just thinking about thinking about this I can feel the anxiety rising up within. I don't know if it's worth the anxiety and hassle to fight against this, or attending while opting out of the "active drills." What of those who have worse issues along these lines than I? A.L.I.C.E. (and districts, apparently) don't appear to consider this.

So I thought about taking that day off, but decided to attend for research purposes. A.L.I.C.E. assures staff we can "opt out" of activities, but need to be present for the "debriefings" afterward.

Aside from the above listed reasons for my objections about these kinds of so-called anti-terrorist (be they domestic or otherwise) "trainings," I also have pragmatic ones. If the players behind the scenes of the post 9/11 fear state were truly concerned with students and the educators who work with them every day, we wouldn't have things like A.L.I.C.E.

  • My district will not pay staff to take first aid training. We are "expected" (though not mandated) to pay for the training ourselves, and do it on our own time. Having everyone certified in First Aid training is far more useful and reasonable than being the pawn in para-military games that are paid for -- I will be paid to attend the training. And, obviously, the trainers are paid by the district.
  • Spanish lessons. Yep. In my area, we have a large Spanish as a second language student population. It would be wonderful to be able to communicate more effectively with students -- and their parents and families -- if staff could speak student specific Spanish.
  • Metal detectors. Oh this is a hue and cry, an outrage, an intrusion! I hate it too. But, if we are supposedly serious about ending school shootings and protecting the children, then metal detectors at the office doors should be the norm.
  • Be a hall monitor, like a boss, like a nerdy meanie. Schools are lax -- after all, we want to be welcoming and supportive. But letting parents walk through back doors in the mornings as they bring their kids in to school is weak security. Anyone can come into the building.
  • Bullet proof glass. Is it? I love the airy, bright open plans in the newer buildings in our district (I can't speak for all)  but there is a lot of glass exposing the students and staff. We're fish in a fish bowl.

The points listed above have to do with immediate matters, logic, the students and staff as mutually supporting each other. Easy to implement. While some cost some money (metal detectors) is it money we're concerned about, or the safety of students and staff?

Well, I will report on the training after this Friday. That's the day it takes place.

1 comment:

  1. I just spoke with my manager to opt-out of the two hour training. I work for a corporation and I have gotten used to the group mentality and autocracy; I have seven years of military experience so I can manage somewhat the group think. Not sure why, but this time around I just had a really strong negative reaction and it has upset me enough to question why the A.L.I.C.E. training should be a training that would be counted in my job performance. I do agree with your position on the 'social engineering.'