CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Sara Rounds' classroom is a safe place.
"Things have changed a lot over the last few years," she said.
Rounds teaches first grade at Jackson Township Elementary. While her classroom is secure and safe, outside is a different reality.
"When I did enter teaching, you know, this was not a thought in my head," said Rounds, "but this is where we are now."
Rounds is one of several teachers to complete ALICE, an active shooter response training session.
ALICE is an acronym of alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate. All five options that Superintendent Jeff Fritz is bringing to Clay Community Schools.
"It's not really defense techniques, it's not martial arts of any kind. It basically just gives them options," he said, "You might alert, you might lock down, you might try to escape, it just depends on the situation."
Last month, Fritz says they introduced ALICE to parents and the rest of the Clay County community in informative meetings.
"All of our administrators, and a teacher from every building, at least one, we've had local, state and county law enforcement officers receive training to be trainers," Fritz said, "They're going out of the buildings and they're training their staff and also training students."
For Rounds, she's excited about introducing the ALICE concept to Jackson Township students.
"We are ready to start training our kids on how to be empowered, how to make choices in an active shooter situation," she said.
In light of recent mass shootings, Fritz says times are different from how they were before. By impleteming ALICE, it's just another added element to their current security measures.
"I pray for my schools every day, and it's definitely concerning," he said, "It's a much different world than when I started teaching many years ago. We used to have the doors wide open, people coming in and out. Unfortunately, we have a lot of evil people in the world and they're out there to hurt the innocent, they come to our schools."
Fritz says ALICE training for students will be broken down by age appropriate levels. While it is a difficult subject, Rounds says students already recognize it happening across the nation.
"We are going to teach this to the kids in a very kind way, not using harsh words, kid friendly, so I think our kids will really grasp on to this," she said, "This is nothing new here to society, it's in the news a lot. They understand what our world is going through unfortunately."
Through ALICE training, Fritz says students will develop skills to carry with them for the rest of their life in any situation.
"I've heard success stories of kids who learned this, who used it in different ways," Fritz said, "One I heard about used it at the movie theatre one time in an actual situation. These are life skills that I'm proud we're doing at Clay Community Schools."
It's a lesson that seems unimaginable to teach, but it's one that ensures safe places, like Rounds' classroom, are safer.
"It is very unsettling that this is where our world is, and that we have to teach this to our children," she said, "but I think they'll be comforted by the fact, knowing that their teachers are on their side, we're wanting to prepare them."
If you are a parent and have questions about ALICE in your child's school, you can contact your child's principal.
To learn more about the ALICE program, you can visit their website.
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