Manitoba

U.S. training to fight off school attackers not welcome here, says teachers society

The Manitoba Teachers' Society is shocked an American-style program that directs school staff and students to flee or fight off an attacker is being considered here.

ALICE program developed in Ohio advises students to scatter and run and throw things at intruder

The Winnipeg Police Service is recommending all six school divisions in the city implement ALICE training, but the president of the Manitoba Teachers' Society is opposed to it. (CBC)

The Manitoba Teachers' Society is shocked an American-style program that directs school staff and students to flee or fight off an attacker is being considered here.

ALICE, an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate, is based on a program developed in Ohio. It advises students to scatter and run, as well as throw things at a possible armed intruder.

Teachers society president Norm Gould says it's the first he's heard of it, and he doesn't like it.

"Quite shocked, actually, at the notion that both teachers and students would be trained in some sort of fashion to defend themselves and to attack or to respond to an attack of an intruder," he said.

The Winnipeg Police Service is recommending all six school divisions in the city implement ALICE training. Const. Vern Novalkowski, who received ALICE training earlier this year in the U.S., said the program arms staff with "last resort" options in the event an armed intruder gets into a locked space.

Currently, school divisions in Manitoba use the lockdown approach, which is to lock classroom doors and have students hide at the back of the classroom.

Gould said there is a different culture in Canada, compared to the U.S., in regard to guns and these kinds of situations, and he will strongly urge the provincial education minister against adopting the program.

"It comes from the United States, where there's a bit of a mentality of arm yourself and defend yourself, so it's quite a different philosophy than we have here in Canada, in my opinion," he said.

However, a spokesperson from the Pembina Trails School Division told CBC they have already had two ALICE training workshops and more are planned.

"We have adopted it across the division," said Stacey Ashley. "It is my understanding that a number of divisions are also taking the training."

Winnipeg School Division chair Sherri Rollins told CBC News they are already in preliminary discussions with police and she is keen to learn more at upcoming meetings this fall.

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