'I'm Not Scared I'm Prepared' Trains Schoolkids on How to Handle a Gunman

With news of every new school shooting, sending our babies off in the morning gets a little tougher. How can we keep them safe? Some schools are paying to train kids and teachers on how to stop a armed intruder. Training our kids and teachers to engage a lunatic with a gun? Now there's a really awful idea that will solve nothing.

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Cash-strapped schools are ponying up $595 get a teacher or police officer training from the ALICE Training Institute on their "Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate" technique. It even comes with a companion children's book you can buy to help kids get up to speed on how to engage in lethal combat with an armed gunman.

The ALICE kids book offers tips like running in a zig-zag so you're harder to shoot and making a lot of distracting noises. Hardly seems like a match against a semi-automatic weapon. Also seems like a great way to scare the bejeezus out of our kids. It sure scares the hell out of me. So much for the delivery on the "I'm not scared" promise in the title.

Other ALICE training techniques involve throwing things at the gunman, like canned goods, which inspired one Alabama school to have a special canned food drive so they would always have plenty on hand for defense. 

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Is this really the lesson of Sandy Hook? That those tiny children in their classrooms with their teachers just should have had more defensive tactics? I refuse to believe that.

And what is that teaching our kids? Ask any veteran you know about the emotional toll being on constant alert against violence can be. Is this what we want for our kids' childhood? How are they supposed to learn algebra while also being constantly vigilant against unspeakable violence?

It's ridiculous and shameful that we aren't doing better by our kids than some janky training on throwing canned goods.

But the idea of training our schoolkids to be little Charles Bronsons is shockingly common. According to New York Magazine, Greg Crane, the former police officer behind the training, says more than 2,000 school districts have received ALICE training.

We have to stop this. We can't turn our children's childhood into a constant war zone. We, the grown-ups, have to do the work of creating a safe zone for our teachers to teach and our kids to learn. Otherwise, what's the point? Isn't that the reason we all get up and work every day? To create a safe, warm place for our families to grow? We can't let a few evil psychopaths take that away from us.

This isn't some Second Amendment thing either. Line up SWAT teams outside schools. Build more locked gates and put the babies behind bulletproof glass. Fine. But once inside, school must be a calm, safe place. Otherwise we're going to have an entire generation of kids raised to think violence is an everyday threat, rather than what it really is -- the horrifying symptom of the adults' failure to deal with issues before they made their way to our elementary school doors.

It's time to deal with the problem of pervasive violence in America. It's no one thing. It's not just guns, or a mental health crisis or economic and social injustice -- it's all of those things. And the solutions are complicated, but that can't stop us from having frank conversations about keeping violence away from our kids. Do you have unlocked guns in your house? Are we playing too many violent video games at home? Are we talking about how to handle our feelings? Do you feel safe?

The rest of it is the grown folk's problems to sort out. Not our babies. We can, and really must, have arguments about the best way to handle an America where schools are under constant threat of violence. It's time. But the work is ours to do, and no $600 training can change that fact. The kids just need a safe place to work on algebra.

 

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