Sheldon, Iowa — Sandy Hook, Columbine, Virginia Tech. These names dig up painful memories of tragedy. Now, many schools across the country are looking at new ways to protect their students during active shooter incidents. One of those programs was introduced at Sheldon Community High School Thursday afternoon.
Dubbed “ALICE”, the program’s name stands for “Alert”, “Lockdown”, “Inform”, “Counter”, “Evacuate”. The program is designed to help empower students and teachers to assess their options and take action accordingly.
Thursday’s program was presented by LeMars Police Officer Kevin Vande Vegte, with help from LeMars Police Chief Stewart Dekkinga, Sioux County Deputy Waylon Pollema, and officers from the Sheldon Police Department.
Vande Vegte says the mindset of how to respond in an active shooter scenario needs to change.
Vande Vegte says his department was approached by officials in Sheldon because the LeMars department has some experience with the ALICE Program.
The presentation included several scenarios in which volunteers experienced different reactions to, and outcomes of, an active shooter scenario.
Vande Vegte says the ALICE Program has been developed from learning the lessons taught by previous school shootings, including the fact that a passive response is inadequate in an active shooter scenario.
Thursday’s presentation was attended by teachers and administrators from all of the schools in Sheldon, as well as representatives of the Sheldon Emergency Services, Sanford Sheldon, Village Northwest Unlimited and others.