CRAVEN COUNTY, NC (WITN) - Staff members across Craven County spent Monday training on new techniques hoping to help keep their schools and classrooms safer next school year.
The school system began implementation of "ALICE" training, a new approach to active intruder safety.
ALICE stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate-- a form of training that goes beyond turning off the lights, and ducking underneath the desks.
In one particular exercise at New Bern High School, an air horn signified shots fired; While outside the classrooms, a teaching assistant simulated an active shooter. Inside, staff scrambled to barricade the door as part of the new training exercise.
"You really are visualizing what will this look like with my students in my classroom. What kind of furniture could I move. How am I now going to rearrange my room to make it safe for kids all the time, in any scenario," said Ashlee Decamp, a New Bern High School Biology Teacher
Germaine Graham, the school's ISS Coordinator, added. "It gives us awareness that if a shooter is coming, to prepare ourselves. Prepare our classrooms,"
ALICE Institute Training comes at the recommendation of several government agencies, and provides a proactive approach to active intruder response.
"We're kind of taking control, and I think that will make kids feel safer, parents feel safer, and I know for teachers it makes me feel a little better," said Decamp.
Teachers and school staff say student safety is something they think about every day. Graham said, "You worry about it everyday. Because you never know the time, the place or when it's going to transpire."
"Every time I hear about something it makes me think, what can I do to make our school that much safer?," added Assistant Principal and Safety Coordinator Paul Schwab.
But should the unthinkable ever occur, Graham says the school will be prepared saying, "It will help us out a lot in the future. It will help save lives."
The school district hopes for full implementation of the new training beginning with the 2019-2020 school year, and says vital information about the training will go out to all parents of students.