A Divine Child teacher, Janine Miller, was particularly stressed about the school shooting drills, but still feels that they are necessary:
“The most stressful part of the drill for me is the imagining what a real event might be like. I’m going to want to protect my class as if they are my own children and see how that might turn out”
Truly, the odds are not equivalent to the current level of fear. Parents buy their preschoolers bulletproof backpacks, and students in the fourth grade are told to arm themselves with books and pencil cases if an intruder enters their room. Drills in some schools include firecrackers mimicking gunfire and deemed “attackers” scaling the hallways pretending to be a threat while traumatizing kids more than preparing them.
This is exactly what the ALICE Corporation is capitalizing on. Fear.
“What if it happens to my school?” is a question repeated throughout the entire country. The actuality of the situation can easily be shown by statistics. An American has approximately a 0.0012% chance of dying in a mass shooting. The numbers narrow even more when preset in a school.
Though the statistics prove it is highly unlikely for you to die in a school shooting, the fear within America reflects the statistics. Newscasters viciously brawl on live television over how the issue of school shooting shall be solved. The media laments the last school shootings as footage flickers on every station you turn to. The ALICE training corporation thrives off of this fear, and as does any company who helps people prepare for tragedy.
Schools who practice the ALICE training have a larger sense of security within the school walls. Jenna Allie, a student at Divine Child High School, says having the new drills is better than doing nothing about it. It relieves students’ anxiety towards this topic. Even when the news doesn’t let you forget about the possibility of a school shooting, the program helps you forget for long enough to get through the school day. She is not the only student to feel this way, since the media has been filled with stories of schools having people with weapons enter the school grounds.
The question must be asked if the sudden craze for more intruder drills and expensive training is only a result of shock-factor. Even though there is indeed a threat of a terrible intruder attack, the odds are extremely unlikely as it is far more likely for a child to die in any other school related activity. This includes activities such as commuting to and from school, contracting a deadly disease while in school, and receiving a fatal injury in interscholastic sports.
Throughout the country, there is questioning over whether or not the disadvantages outweigh the benefits of practicing these drills. The taxing stress causes students to have mental breakdowns and become paranoid. There are numerous reports of students also getting seriously injured as a result.
Should schools be required to practice these drills as statistically the odds are miniscule and often there is more harm than good being produced ? Should schools spend more on security and employ more security guards to reduce fear of the threat instead of holding all-school drills? The answer currently provided by the State of Michigan requires all schools to have two lock-down drills, not specifically mentioning whether it must be regarding an active shooter.
Though the strategies are able to better prepare the students and the school as a whole, the ALICE Training Institute shows cracks of being motivated by money. Training services are highly overpriced and forcibly recommended to allegedly secure the welfare of the organization. Schools and Administrators fear the worst of school shootings and have put in place extensive protocol in such an event.
Is the ALICE training corporation really just taking advantage of the current atmosphere in America? As the years go by, more and more tragedies occur, and the worry of students, faculty, and parents rise along with the ALICE program’s yearly revenue. Just peering onto ALICE website proves that the company is purely looking to make profits. For a person to continue to be an official ALICE instructor, they must be recertified every 2 years, thus allowing the company to collect $589 regularly.
A humorous aspect of ALICE’s revenue is their online store. In addition to the expensive apparel options provided, posters, bookmarks, and wallet cards are recommended by ALICE to be bought to be given to students. Posters run primarily at a steep price of $16 per poster.
A special children’s book, named “I’m Not Scared…I’m Prepared!”, was created by the company, specifically for elementary children. The company sells the books as a way to teach children to be less scared drills and invites them to understand the practicality of active shooter drills. This book in combination to a teacher activity guide sells for $19.90.
It can be argued over whether a poster or a children’s book can alter a child’s logical thinking in an emergency situation or even just in a school drill, but it must be brought up that ALICE is trying to profit off of fear.
The results of whether or not the training will benefit schools who participate will show with time. However, it will also reveal with time if unwarranted paranoia and stress was placed upon student ultimately hurting them more than preparing them.