Dear Parent/Guardian,

At Northwestern, we are committed to providing the safest possible environment for our students and staff. Over the years, we have devoted much energy to securing our schools, which include locking exterior doors, securing our entiy systems, and installing security cameras. But, what if an armed intruder enters or is already in the building?

Schools across the country have answered that question with a method we call "Lockdown." Should an unauthorized person enter the school buildings or grounds, a Lockdown alert is given, and students and staff are instructed to lock their classroom doors, turn out lights, hide in a far comer of the classroom, and remain calm and quiet. This is the procedure that we have followed for years. However, research gained form careful analysis of school-shootings tells us that we must provide students and staff with more options.

Our district has enhanced the Lockdown procedures that we, as well as experts across the country, believe will increase the chance of survival during an active shooter incident. The enhancements we will teach our staff and students are known as ALICE. What does ALICE mean?

Alert: We will communicate using clear concise language and accurately describe the location of the event.

Lockdown: This is still a good starting point. The Lockdown will include locking the door and also barricading to deny entry.

Inform: Continual communication, keeping the staff and students informed, allows for good decision making.

Counter: Apply skills of movement, noise, distance, distractions and using our overwhelming numbers to gain control of the situation, as is age and ability appropriate. This is only if Evacuation and Lockdown are not possible.

Evacuate: Reduce the number of potential targets for the shooter and reduce chances of injuries resulting from friendly fire when help arrives.

In NO WAY are we asking or teaching our students or staff to make any attempt to subdue an armed gunman outside of their secure area. However, we will provide them with options that, if faced with a life or death situation, can be applied to greatly enhance their chance of survival. These options include evacuating, barricading the door, and protecting oneself by any means necessary should an armed intruder enter the room.

Training will emphasize that the best way to survive an active shooter is to evacuate, when possible, be mentally prepared, and have the authority and ability to use options to increase chances of survival. Please contact me, if you have any questions about the ALICE program. We look forward to working with your students to provide them with skills they may need at school, and in the community, if confronted with a violent intruder.


John B. Hansen