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Fort Kent students learn safety techniques for potential school shooter situations

FORT KENT, Maine — Although no parent wants to think that their child will become involved in a school shooting, unfortunately it can and does happen in towns both big and small throughout our country.

Law enforcement personnel from three different agencies educated students at Fort Kent Community High School on Tuesday morning about what steps the students could take should they find themselves in such a horrific situation.

The training was provided by ALICE-certified officers Sgt. Joshua Haines and Trooper Andrew Levesque of the Maine State Police, Sgt. Matt Cummings of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and Madawaska Police Department Lt. Jamie Pelletier, a school resource officer for the Madawaska School Department..

ALICE, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, and evacuate, is a strategic training program designed to equip individuals with the skills they would need to use if ever an active shooter or aggressive intruder were in the building or on school grounds.

Meeting by grade level in the high-school cafeteria, Sgt. Haines and the other officers taught the students how to safely evacuate the school campus should they learn a shooter is on the premises.

“Go as far as you need to; go until you think you’re safe,” Haines told the students.

The law enforcement officers also trained the students in countering techniques to disarm a shooter.

Although it may be frightening for parents to consider their children attempting to involve themselves in the act of confronting a school shooter, studies have shown that this method can be more effective in saving lives than the traditional school lockdown approach. 

Sgt.Haines, who has two children of his own who attend high school and his wife is a school secretary, described ALICE training as “a proactive approach.” 

“The alternative is to hide in the corner or under desks. We’ve seen so many kids killed that way,” Haines said. “I taught my kids to defend themselves at all costs, rather than be executed. That may be their only option to survive (a school shooting).”  

“ALICE training let’s you know you can do something, and anything is better than nothing,” Lt. Pelletier added.

For information about ALICE training, visit alicetraining.com.

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