Teachers Object to Training Drills With Airsoft Guns

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An active-shooter training at a Monticello, In., school that left teachers with welts, bruises and abrasions has raised questions about how this training should be done, the Indianapolis Star reports. There is little agreement about what the right approach to active-shooter training is. Some experts say traditional lockdowns are most effective, and sometimes, teachers simply observe while police role-play. They generally do not involve shooting teachers with an air-powered airsoft gun that was used in this incident. Teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary were receiving “ALICE” training, an “options-based” approach that encourages students and teachers to be proactive in their response to an active-shooter and teaches tactics that include rushing a shooter in some situations.

ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate. This model, and others like it, gives students and teachers options in an active-shooter scenario. They’re encouraged to evacuate the school when possible, hide in locked-down classrooms when not and to fight back against the shooter by throwing things or even rushing the attacker. Morgan Ballis, a school safety consultant, said the training done with the Meadowlawn teachers sounds like what ALICE trainers receive, but wasn’t intended to be passed on to teachers. The Indiana State Police offers in-school training sessions that do not use airsoft guns or fire any projectiles but does use a handgun designed to fire blank rounds. White County Sheriff Bill Brooks, whose agency led the Meadowlawn training, said that after learning that teachers were upset by use of the airsoft gun, the department is no longer using the device with teachers. The popularity of  training programs like ALICE and “Run, Hide, Fight” is rising, but most schools still employ the traditional lockdown model, said Ken Trump, a school safety consultant in Ohio and critic of the options-based approaches.

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