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Dobie crisis training set for March 26

On Tuesday, March 26, Dobie High School will perform a campuswide, student-involved crisis response training.

As part of a districtwide review of the Pasadena Independent School District safety plan, a new safety protocol called A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) has been adopted for use in the unlikely event of an armed intruder in a school building. A.L.I.C.E. training provides preparation and a plan for individuals and organizations on how to more proactively handle the threat of an aggressive intruder or active shooter event. A.L.I.C.E. training offers option-based tactics, versus the traditional “lockdown only” approach.

District personnel and police began exploring A.L.I.C.E. as an option several years ago. After its adoption, training in the new protocol began with Dobie campus leadership and progressed to the rest of the faculty and staff. The March 26 event will be the first time Dobie students are exposed to the A.L.I.C.E. method in a systematic way.

Dobie parents should have received a message from school officials notifying them of the training.

“Our priority is to keep students safe during their time at school,” said Dobie Principal Franklin Moses in the notification. “As a result, Dobie High School will implement a new safety procedure. The campus staff has been trained to initiate A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) if an intruder enters our building. The A.L.I.C.E. protocol is an option- based strategy relying on situational awareness. Students will soon watch a short video at school followed by a teacher-led discussion using frequently asked questions as a guide. At least two more A.L.I.C.E. activities will follow throughout the year. Please visit our website at www.pasadenaisd.org and click on the Keeping Pasadena ISD Safe tab to access the introductory video and additional information. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to call Dobie High School at 713-740-0370. We are happy to answer any questions you have about the A.L.I.C.E. protocol.”

Students:
Frequently asked questions about A.L.I.C.E.

How will the school officers respond in an A.L.I.C.E. situation?
The officers will follow police protocol when they are informed of an active intruder.

May I call my parents once I get to safety?
Yes, please call your parents once you get to a safe place. You can also call 911 to let them know where you are.

Can we throw things if there is an intruder in our classroom?
Your teacher might choose to throw things if an intruder enters the classroom. You should follow the directions of your teacher (or adult in the room) and be prepared to distract the intruder, evacuate the room, or move furniture around to create a barricade.

Can we break a window to get out?
Your teacher might choose to use the window as a way to evacuate if the door is not an option. You should follow the directions of your teacher or adult in the room. They will know how to evacuate, but may ask for your help. Carefully clear away glass before going out the window, and then RUN to safety.

How will I reunite with my family?
The district will identify a place for you to be reunited with your family. The information about where to reunite with your family will be sent out in many ways, including a message from school, through social media posts and officers’ police cars. The school will work together with law enforcement to decide where parents can pick up students.

Do substitutes know what to do?
Substitutes will receive training, but they may need reminders from students about the closest exit or available materials in the room.

Are we allowed to evacuate without a teacher?
If there is no teacher around you, and you can safely evacuate, you can do so. Remember to run to the closest exit and do not return to the building. Keep running until you reach a safe place or until you locate a safe adult.

What if someone has an injury or other reason which prevents them from evacuating?
If someone is unable to evacuate, lock the classroom and barricade the door if possible. If you can help the person evacuate, you can do that as well.

What if there is no PA Announcement of the intruder?
There may not be an announcement, or you may not be able to hear an announcement. There may be other things that you hear that alert you or your teacher to begin to implement A.L.I.C.E. Your teacher has been trained in what to do in the event an A.L.I.C.E. procedure is called.

Will we be able to come back and get our belongings from school?
The police will notify the school district when it is safe to return to the building. It may not be immediate. Do not re-enter the school until you have been alerted that it is safe.

Does it matter if the intruder hears the announcement?
It does not matter if the intruder hears the announcement. The National A.L.I.C.E. Training organization tells us that it is distracting to the intruder to be hearing all of the announcements and that is a good thing.

Can we run to our house?
Yes, you can run to your house as long as it is in the direction you are evacuating. Remember to always run AWAY from the sound of the threat. Contact your parents and/or the police to let them know where you are once you have reached a safe place.

What if there is more than one intruder?
The same A.L.I.C.E. options apply.

What will the office staff do?
The office staff will also implement A.L.I.C.E. They will use any of their options which could include lockdown, barricading or evacuating the office.

What if the intruder comes during a passing period or at the beginning or end of the day?
If the intruder comes into the school during a time when students are moving around the school, whether at arrival/dismissal or during a passing period, the same A.L.I.C.E. options apply. If you can, run into a classroom, lockdown, and barricade. If you can run out a nearby exit, you can do that, too.

What if the intruder is a student and knows about the A.L.I.C.E. Procedure?
Even if the intruder knows we follow A.L.I.C.E., they still will not know how everyone will react. The way the protocol is designed; staff (and students) will be making split-second decisions as to which option they feel is the best to implement based on the information provided.

If a student falls while running and gets hurt, should we help them or keep running?
Certainly see if you and maybe another student or the staff can quickly help them, then continue to run to a safe location. If the other student was unable to run with you, then once you reach safety, alert a first responder (911) of where the hurt student is so that they can go help the student.

What if we end up in the hallway and all the classroom doors are locked?
Evacuation is a very good option. Find the closest exit and run from the building as soon and as quickly as possible. Run until you can no longer see the building. When you reach safety, flag down a first responder, or call 911 or your parents to let them know where you are.

Some of the classroom doors open out – how will a barricade help?
Barricading puts things between you and the intruder. The barricade can also work on ways to hold the door shut or prevent it from opening.

Why can’t we evacuate with our cars?
In a time of panic, it might seem like a good idea to leave in a car. It is not appropriate to leave in a vehicle as emergency personnel and other supporting agencies will quickly be arriving on the scene.

How do police officers know when I am running that I am not the intruder?
Students have been instructed to leave the building with hands in the air so that police know they are not the intruder.

What if I am outside with my class?
Do not go back into the building. Follow your teacher’s directions, which will likely include running away from the threat until you get to safety.

Parents:
Information and FAQs regarding A.L.I.C.E.

What is A.L.I.C.E. and A.L.I.C.E. training?
As part of updating the district’s safety plan, a new safety protocol called A.L.I.C.E. will be implemented in the unlikely event of an armed intruder in one of our school buildings. This training encourages staff and students to respond based on their situation, rather than rely on centralized instructions in dynamic times of crisis.

A.L.I.C.E. is a federally endorsed safety protocol. The letters A.L.I.C.E. stand for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate:
• Alert – Inform people of the threat, giving as much information as possible.
• Lockdown – Students and staff can choose to lockdown and barricade the room that they are in if they determine that it is not safe to evacuate.
• Inform – Pass on as much information as possible to others and to First Responders, including calling 911.
• Counter – An effort of last resort, if an armed intruder is able to get into the space they are in, individuals can counter with distraction or other tactics. Staff are being trained to use every effort to stop the intruder, instead of relying on the traditional lockdown and hide response.
• Evacuate – If it is safe to do so, all are encouraged to evacuate the building, and remove themselves from the threat.

During A.L.I.C.E. training, staff, and students are trained in different options for responding to a school intruder who is intent on doing harm. In certain circumstances, the “lock the door and hide” strategy might be appropriate. In some cases, the teacher and students might take precautions to barricade the entrance(s) of the classroom. Under certain conditions, it might be the best decision for the teacher and students to flee the building. The goal of A.L.I.C.E. training is that the strategies learned will increase the chances that our staff and students might survive if a terrible circumstance of an armed intruder ever were to occur.

Are teachers and staff expected to follow A.L.I.C.E. in order? Are you supposed to Alert, then lockdown, then inform?
A.L.I.C.E. is not intended to be a checklist of things to do. It is a list of choices, with accompanying strategies that are options for our staff to help themselves and students stay safe in the highly unlikely event of an armed intruder. Some may choose to evacuate and some may choose to lockdown and barricade. Others may be forced to counter if an armed intruder is able to enter the space they are in. A.L.I.C.E. trains people to know they have choices in an emergency.

Why change to these different protocols?
We believe that all PISD schools are the safest place for our students to be. Just like practicing what we should do in a fire with our monthly fire drills, we want to be sure that we will know what to do if an armed intruder is in a school. All our schools are equipped with a number of safeguards, some seen and others unseen, to keep our students safe. In addition, since we know that violence has become all too frequent in our world, the strategies, and mental preparation we use in A.L.I.C.E. preparation are transferable to any public venue our students may find themselves in where a crisis may occur.
We have to come to the realization that a violent intruder event can happen any time, any place and for any reason. There is a new standard-of-care which emphasizes the need for pro-active, options-based strategies, which means that we have a responsibility to those in our care and employment to do all we can to prepare them for this rare event, not only in our location but wherever they may find themselves. The federal government recommendations, as well as major law enforcement associations support these strategies. A.L.I.C.E. Training is the model upon which these official recommendations were built.

What does it mean to “counter?”
The main intent of Counter is to distract the intruder, not try to physically take on the intruder. An example of counter would be to throw objects at an intruder for a distraction. Being passive or static has typically not shown to be an effective response in most active shooter events. There are examples within recent events of school violence where the difference of passive and active responses determined survival chances. A different approach is needed to help keep our students and staff safe. Confronting a violent intruder should never be required in any nonlaw enforcement job description. How each staff member chooses to respond if directly confronted by a violent intruder is up to them.

How will parents be notified if their child’s school is experiencing a crisis?
Notification will be sent out using all methods of school district communication, including an email and phone call from School Messenger, website updates, media alerts, text messages, social media, and any other tactic that we have at our means. Families are encouraged to review their School Messenger email and phone number information to ensure that they are receiving school messages in the manner they desire by logging into Family Access.

How will we know my child will be safe after the emergency?
In the event of a full evacuation, children would be transported to safe evacuation sites off school grounds where they will be reunited with parents. Parents will be informed about these locations through direct communication.

Will the local police municipalities be in schools to help teachers practice scenarios and possibilities for an active shooter situation?
The Pasadena ISD Police Department has trained staff in the A.L.I.C.E. Protocol. This training included different scenarios and drills that imitated an Active Shooter situation. Staff will share what they have learned with our students in an age appropriate way, and teach them the A.L.I.C.E. procedures through the course of the year.

In a crisis, law enforcement will rapidly respond, but we must learn to help ourselves before they arrive. Just as the fire department equips us with fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and EMS trains us in using AED for heart attacks, the law enforcement community is training us in our response options to be used before they are able to arrive in an active intruder situation.

Where can I go for more information about A.L.I.C.E.?
Here is a link to information about A.L.I.C.E. We will also be adding information to the district website. Contact your school principal with specific questions. http://www.A.L.I.C.E.training.com/

Since parents do not participate in safety drills, they often find themselves curious about drill procedures. How do you recommend parents learn about how drills are conducted?
It is our recommendation that parents engage in age appropriate conversation with their child or children following all safety drills. Should a parent have a specific question, please contact the building principal.

Students readiness for this information varies based on age. How will this be communicated to students in age-appropriate ways?
We want our children to be prepared for everything, including if an unsafe person were to enter our school. Administrators, student services staff, and teachers will take the principles and tactics taught in the A.L.I.C.E. training and present the information in nonfearful, empowering ways. We will take into account children’s developmental readiness to ensure that students feel safe and have opportunities to talk about their feelings and reactions.

At this time, there is no plan to have simulated shooters in our buildings while students are learning about A.L.I.C.E. All learning will be staff-directed and student-centered. Parents are encouraged, if they wish, to contact their principals with specific questions and concerns.

What resources exist to talk to my child at home about this?
You can contact your campus administrator or school counselor to access materials that might be helpful to share at home depending on your child’s needs.

City to reimburse Harvey repairs

The City of Houston is clearing hurdles to issue reimbursement checks for Harvey-related home repairs by the end of March.

On Wednesday, March 13, Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush approved the city’s request to reduce barriers for reimbursing homeowners. Also, City Council is expected to vote Wednesday, March 20, on a key set of homeowner contract documents that will allow the city to sign contracts with homeowners almost immediately.

“I have fought for the resources Houston needs to recover from Harvey, and now I’m fighting to make sure we get help to Houstonians without delay,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “In disaster recovery, there are a lot of challenges for homeowners including requirements set by state and federal agencies. I’m looking for ways to make the process smoother for everyone.”

The GLO authorized the city to use an additional method of verifying how much homeowners spent on recovery, by allowing homeowners to self-certify repair costs that are then verified by the city. The city and GLO still encourage homeowners to document recovery expenses with receipts when possible, while recognizing that self-certification will help speed the process.

“We’re grateful to Commissioner Bush and the GLO for helping us reduce administrative burdens, while making sure that we’re good stewards of federal resources,” said Tom McCasland, the city’s Housing and Community Development director.

Once City Council approves the standard contract forms for the Homeowner Assistance Program (HoAP), the Housing and Community Development Department will move forward with signing contracts with the first round of homeowners for the reimbursement program option.

The city will then verify repair costs and begin issuing checks to eligible homeowners.

“Our target is the end of March to start cutting checks for reimbursement,” McCasland said.

Homeowners interested in participating in HoAP or other Harvey recovery programs should take the Harvey Recovery Survey at www.recovery.houstontx.gov/survey or 832-393-0550. The survey takes less than 15 minutes, doesn’t require any documents and is the first step in accessing recovery programs.

More information is available at www.recovery.houstontx.gov.

Funds for Harvey Recovery Programs are provided by the City of Houston and the Texas General Land Office through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program.

 

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