SJA employees barricade doors inside one of the classrooms to prevent the active shooter from entering during an ALICE Training Institute drill.

St. Joseph Academy (SJA) is one step closer to becoming an ALICE certified organization.

On Feb. 14, 2020, SJA completed the second phase of active shooter response training through the ALICE Training Institute. No students were in the building at the time of the training. ALICE helps organizations better prepare their people to prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from a violent critical incident. Previously, SJA employees completed the first phase of the training, an online component, and received certificates of completion.

The second phase of the training involved 72 SJA employees practicing how to respond to an active shooter entering the building. Employees learned how to lockdown the building, fight the attacker, and flee the scene in a safe manner. Assisting with the training were two volunteers who served as the armed intruders. Milwaukee Police Officers Michael Ward and Fabian Garcia were onsite to observe how SJA can improve its emergency operating procedures.

SJA hopes a shooting does not take place, but if so, employees need to be prepared. In 2019, eight people were killed and 43 were injured in 25 shooting incidents that occurred on school grounds or during school-sponsored events, according to Education Week. One of those shootings happened in Milwaukee. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured or killed.

From left, SJA Principal Scott Hanson and Milwaukee Police Officers Michael Ward and Fabian Garcia before the ALICE training begins.

“We need to create as safe an environment as possible and empower ourselves to be more prepared and less scared,” said SJA Principal Scott Hanson. “Families and communities expect schools to keep their children safe from all threats, including human-caused emergencies such as crimes of violence. We can learn to make good survival decisions should an attack occur and that is why this training experience is important.”

SJA will complete the third part of the ALICE training in April.

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