ALICE Plan- Best Practices for Managing School Violence

ALICE Plan- Best Practices for Managing School Violence
Posted on 08/13/2015

Over the past several years our country has seen an increase in school violence and school shootings. As the experts analyze these horrific events, it is apparent that we need to do more. We need to take steps in an attempt to prevent these events from occurring, and also to ensure that we are training students and staff members on procedures that they would need to survive in the case of an active shooter in our schools.

In response, the School District of the Menomonie Area, along with several other school districts across the country, have adopted a new strategy for lockdown procedures known as the ALICE plan. ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

Lockdown procedures previously involved staff members locking their doors, moving students to a part of the room where they could not be seen, and quietly remaining there until an “all clear” announcement was given. The ALICE plan, however, offers a different philosophy to utilize technology and information in a way that allows staff and students to make informed decisions in a crisis; it removes as many people as possible from the danger zone and provides realistic training so that those involved in the crisis have a better chance of surviving.

The ALICE plan will be implemented in phases in the SDMA, and in collaboration with local law enforcement officials. The first phase has been completed, and it involved lead staff members receiving training based upon the ALICE plan protocol. This fall, the second phase will include building-level training involving all staff and students.

During this training, teachers will provide direction to the students on what action needs to be taken. It will be very important that students listen and follow the directions given, as this drill is not predictable like a fire drill or tornado drill. Before the first drill is performed, individual classroom teachers will let the students know that it is only a drill, not an actual situation, and they will teach their class the ALICE plan. For our elementary students, the training will be based upon the standpoint of a bad person entering the school building, instead of an active shooter, to ensure our younger students are not scared during the drill.

Students need constant reminders of safe practices in order for them to make good decisions related to their personal safety. Parents can prepare their child(ren) for the ALICE plan by helping them to understand the following objectives at home:

  • There are people that can be mean and may wish to do harm.
  • There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
  • Have your child demonstrate and explain the safety options practiced at school.
  • Ask your child(ren) where they go in the case of an evacuation.
  • Discuss the importance of following the teacher’s directions without hesitation.

Further information regarding the ALICE plan can be found at the following website:  If parents have any additional questions about the ALICE plan, they are also encouraged to contact the principal at their child’s school.

Should school stakeholders have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for our school district, I invite you to visit the Administrative Service Center on Pine Avenue or contact me at 715-232-1642.  More information about our schools can be found on the school district website ( and on Twitter (

Acknowledgement: Much of this article was written in collaboration with Elk Mound Superintendent Ron Walsh.  In addition to recognizing Dr. Walsh’s contribution, I would like to thank him for sharing this information with the other school superintendents in Dunn County.