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Twinsburg Superintendent Explains New Safety Procedures

Twinsburg Schools Superintendent Kathi Powers explains ALICE, a nationally recognized school safety program, in a letter to parents.

Twinsburg City Schools are implementing new school safety procedures after a thorough review of national best practices and an examination of the district's own procedures.

Twinsburg Superintendent Kathi Powers and School Resource Officer Ron Fruscella sat down with Twinsburg Patch to discuss the new procedures. We will have that article this week.

But first, Powers has also posted a letter to parents on the schools website. Here is that letter in its entirety:

Dear Twinsburg Schools Family,

I trust that your Spring Break has been relaxing and that you are ready to begin the final phase of the 2012/2013 school year!  Students in grades 3 – 8 will complete the Ohio Achievement Assessments beginning the week of April 22nd.  Our students have worked hard this year and I am certain that their performance on these state assessments will be outstanding, as usual!  Our high school seniors are preparing to commence to the next phase of their lives but there is much to be done prior to graduation at the E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall on May 28th

We are all very proud of our students and of their achievements in the classroom, in athletics, in the arts and in community service.  However, in order for our students to do so well, we must be certain that the schools they attend are as safe and secure as possible.  As you know, the school district is engaging in an audit of our security procedures.  One of the items that we are addressing is the procedures school staff and students follow in the event of a crisis in their school such as an active shooter. 

We have always had procedures in place to insure student and staff safety, but recent investigative research into school shootings has shown that some changes in school safety procedures need to be made.  You know that each year our schools conduct a variety of trainings and drills such as fire drills, tornado drills and bus evacuations.  Lockdown drills are also practiced.  Lockdown drills are practiced so that we are prepared in the event of an intruder or another emergency situation.  When a lockdown is called, students and staff immediately take cover in their classrooms/offices.  Students may go under desks or seek protection from classroom objects, doors would be locked, lights turned off and students would remain silent.  Students and staff would remain in this lockdown mode until an “all clear” is signaled.  Recent research indicates that lockdowns may not be the best means of survival in an emergency situation, therefore A.L.I.C.E. was developed.

A.L.I.C.E. is a new safety program that is nationally recognized and is an instructed program developed by law enforcement professionals from Texas.  This program is currently sweeping the nation and our District will soon implement A.L.I.C.E. in our schools. 

A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym that stands for:

Alert – When an emergency situation exists, staff and students will be alerted to all pertinent information.  This information is critical for future decisions to be made.  Alerts to staff will occur via the PA system in our buildings.

Lockdown – This is our traditional procedure as described above.

Inform – This is very similar to “Alert”, but our goal is to share as much information as possible about what is happening inside the building.

Confront – If there is a continued threat and students and staff members are in lockdown in their rooms, and the room is compromised, at that point, students and staff will try to protect themselves at all costs.  The process of countering will likely be taught to students in grades 6 – 12.

Evacuate – If staff and students feel that they can evacuate the building based on the information they have, they will evacuate to a predetermined, designated area and wait for law enforcement to assist.

All members of the Twinsburg Schools staff were introduced to A.L.I.C.E. in a training session that was held on March 22nd.  Twinsburg Police Officer Ron Fruscella and two police officers from the Aurora Police Department, Officer Michelle Ice and Officer Chris Reiter presented this new safety initiative to our staff. 

The next phase of implementation will be to inform our parents, therefore, I am writing this month’s Superintendent’s Message to invite you to attend the parent meeting regarding A.L.I.C.E. which is scheduled for Monday, April 29th at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at RB Chamberlin Middle School.  I am hopeful that you will be able to join us to learn about this very important district-wide initiative.

Thanks, in advance, for your interest in A.L.I.C.E.  I hope that our school district never has to deal with a situation such as an active shooter in one of our schools, but we must be prepared, nevertheless.  As always, I appreciate your continued support of our students and of our school community.

Yours in education,

Kathi Powers, Superintendent

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