February 13, 2019
Dear GMHS Parent(s) and Guardian(s),
Over the past several years across our nation, there has been an increase in school violence. As the experts analyze these horrific events, it is apparent that we need to do more, not only taking steps in an attempt to prevent these unlikely events from occurring, but training the Georgetown Middle/High School (GMHS) faculty, staff, and students on safety procedures and protocols. On Thursday, 2/14 GMHS faculty, staff, and students will participate in practice security drills.
If you look at what has occurred in our schools and colleges throughout the country, it is evident that if an armed intruder wants to get into any school building, there is a good chance that they probably will succeed. The fact is, even though the Georgetown Public School District has taken great steps in the matter of securing our school building, i.e. hiring a school resource officer, redesign of the main entrance, additional entrance buzzers, cameras within the building that communicate directly with the Georgetown Police Department, one question still needs to be answered: What if?
In the past, schools across the country have answered that question with a method we call “Lockdown” or “Code Red”. That system is designed for the unlikely event that an unauthorized person enters the school building or grounds, a “Code Red” or “Lockdown” alert is given and students and staff are instructed to lock their classrooms with lights out and to hide in a far corner while remaining calm and quiet. This is probably the procedure that you as parents followed some years ago, or may have heard of.
In the past couple of years, the Georgetown Public Schools, in partnership with the Georgetown Police Department, have adopted procedures that we, as well as experts across the country, believe will provide faculty, staff, and students with more tools called the A.L.I.C.E program. Below is a description of what the acronym stands for:
- Alert – Provide clearer and more specific communications rather than announcing a “Code Red”. Use clear, concise language to convey the type and location of the event.
- Lockdown – We will continue to lockdown students in secure areas when it is appropriate.
- Inform – Communication keeps the intruder off balance and allows for good decision making.
- Counter – Apply skills to distract, confuse, and gain control of a situation.
- Evacuate – Empower faculty, staff, and students to make the best decision for themselves based on the information they are provided.
In closing, in no way are we asking or teaching our faculty, staff, and students to make any attempt to subdue an intruder. The practice security drills will provide them with the knowledge that if faced with a situation, there are methods that can be applied to greatly reduce the risk of harm.
Again, we will be conducting the security drills on Thursday, 2/14. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, 978-352-5790.
Mr. Dan Richards