“This is a work in progress in Massachusetts,” he said. “Is every school district going to buy into it? No. There are still communities that have this old-school mentality that school shootings don’t happen here and it’s not going to happen to us so why change things.”
Approximately 300 US schools, or about 1.5 million students, have adopted the ALICE program, said its creator, Greg Crane, who flew in from Texas to speak at school security conferences in Norfolk and Worcester counties.
“We are not teaching people to fight gunmen,” he said. “We are teaching people to survive gun attacks. We know that in today’s world, students might need to help themselves. They need to know how to do more than sit in a corner or behind a locked door and wait for help.”
A few years ago, Crane introduced the program in Massachusetts after Wilmington police Lieutenant Scott Sencabaugh — a unit commander for the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council, which includes more than 50 police and sheriff departments in Middlesex and Essex counties — invited him to speak at an event. In a brief interview, Sencabaugh said he was a “huge supporter” of the program. Indeed, the program has steadily developed a following among law enforcement, Crane said. “Ten years ago, I was thrown out of places. Now I’m invited everywhere.”
“We know there is not a high probability that we can get there in time to stop mass carnage,” he said. “We know shootings happen quickly and they’re over fast. Folks who find themselves in that level of danger need options.”
Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said he is a firm believer in educating young people to make an informed decision. “Is it better to provide kids with no training and no discussion and no preparation?’’ Morrissey said. “This program might not be right for every school district, but with the increased violence across the country, I applaud schools for taking active steps to keep kids safe.”
Meg Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.