Safety procedures go beyond A.L.I.C.E.


Joliet West’s latest security installment the Bluepoint Alert System. Mounted along a D building hallway leading into the field house. Photo courtesy of Megan Krok.

Megan Krok, Copy Editor

With the increase in mass shootings in the country, more schools are enforcing new active shooter trainings and protocols, such as ALICE, the acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, so they are better prepared for a crisis situation. Certain school districts in our area, such as Minooka, are beginning to adopt the ALICE trainings, but Joliet West has not yet enforced any form of active shooter training.
However, we do have a safety protocol in place when a lockdown occurs, and our safety procedures are continuously changing to make sure they are up to date and are the most beneficial to the school.
You may have noticed some new equipment this school year to increase the security here at West. Some of the new equipment being used to increase security includes the new Bluepoint Alert System; these alarms are used in the same way as the fire alarms, but the law enforcement will be called rather than the fire department.
Many students may not be aware of this, but we also have a procedure to run, lockdown, and alert in a crisis situation. Students are encouraged to assess their situation when a lockdown is called. Students should remain on lockdown unless a fight against the threat is required. In this instance, everyone should fight as a team and do what is necessary to defend themselves. Jo Wooten, assistant principal and head of security at Joliet West, stated, “It’s really looking at the complete picture of a situation; we give strong guidelines to run, lockdown, alert someone right away, and if you need to evacuate or fight.” With the increase in shootings across the country, these skills are critical for the safety, and ultimately the survival of students and staff.
Joliet West is not implementing ALICE anytime soon, but with our lockdown drills and assessing a run, lockdown, and alert during a crisis, our school is well prepared. When asked if she believed that ALICE would be beneficial at West, Wooten expressed, “Whenever we’re having trainings in regards to security, it is all beneficial.”
Aside from any protocols that are in place when a threat occurs, it is important to remember that students are the first line of defense. Joliet West strongly encourages that if you see something, say something. If you see something that is concerning, make sure to tell someone so that law enforcement can be contacted and made aware of the situation if needed.
Superintendent Dr. Mike Hansen, whose former school district did the ALICE trainings, encourages,“Please feel confident to communicate with a teacher, dean, counselor, security official, administrator, me or any school employee in any format if you have information that we need to be aware of. We are dedicated to your safety and security every day.”
West has thirteen security guards, including Detective Anderson. Communication is key when it comes to safety, so let them know if something is alarming and needs to be brought to security’s attention, because ultimately it will make this school a safe and secure place to learn.
As violence increases in schools across the country, hopefully we can take the safety procedures we have in place to ensure that West can be a safe place