San Jon schools certified
September 11, 2019
San Jon Municipal Schools recently became the first school district in New Mexico certified under ALICE training that prepares employees and students in case an active shooter intrudes onto school grounds.
The ALICE Training Institute, based in Ohio, issued the one-year certification Aug. 29 after employees and students received training that month. ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
San Jon Superintendent Janet Gladu stated in an email that ALICE protocols were discussed during an interactive community and parent meeting Aug. 19.
A drill with students then was held on school grounds Aug. 29.
“A majority of our students were off-campus in less than 15 seconds, while all students were off campus in less than a minute,” Gladu stated. “We have worked with the Quay County Sheriff’s Office in updating our procedures.”
She said the district worked with the Quay County Sheriff’s Office in updating district procedures. Also, a deputy attended the school staff training and was present during the drills.
Gladu said during a telephone interview Wednesday an ALICE official stated in an email to her that San Jon was the first school district in New Mexico to attain the certification. An email last week to the ALICE Training Institute requesting comments was not returned.
Gladu said she and administrative assistant Stacy Kent also attended a three-day training session in El Paso, Texas, in February.
Gladu said some sixth-graders recently were asked what they would do if they heard an intruder in the school. She said they replied they would run away or throw things at the attacker.
“This tells me the children have generalized it to all areas so they can be safe,” she said. “I’m a big believer that you have to give children the tools to participate in their own safety.”
She added: “It’s sad we have to train kids to act to an active shooter.”
Gladu said the total cost for ALICE training was $4,010, paid with the district’s operational funds.
She said the district has two ALICE-certified instructors that will be trained again in 2021. Gladu said district staff would receive training annually.
More than 5,000 schools in the U.S. are ALICE-certified. Gladu said she became a believer in it during her previous position at the Griggsville-Perry school district in west-central Illinois, where she said such training in school districts is widespread.
“We know that yesterday’s solutions are not today’s answers for school safety and security,” Gladu stated in the email. “The Department of Education’s recommendations on school safety align with ALICE Training. San Jon has truly raised the bar in school security.”
New Mexico has experienced three school shootings since 1999 — the most recent at Aztec High School in December 2017 that left three students dead.