Meetings scheduled March 14 and 15 at HMS and HHS

More and more school districts across the country are investing time in preparing students on what to do if an act of violence should occur while they are at school. In Hannibal, parents are being invited to learn what their children are being taught regarding school safety during a pair of special meetings scheduled this week.

The initial meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in the middle school cafeteria. The following day — Thursday, March 15 — another meeting is planned, beginning at 6 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.

According to Rich Stilley, business manager of the Hannibal public school district, the focus of both meetings will be safety training.

“The purpose of the meetings is to roll out the basics of the A.L.I.C.E. Training to parents prior to training our students,” he said.

A.L.I.C.E., which stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate,” consists of “general principles that can easily be adapted for various buildings and situations,” explained HPD Chief Lyndell Davis.

A.L.I.C.E. is by no means a new concept in the Hannibal public school district.

“We have been collaborating with HPD (Hannibal Police Department) over the last two years and have trained our staff in this safety measure,” said Stilley.

“Thus far the training has previously been conducted for the faculty and administrators,” said Davis. “The training is going to be expanded now for the students as well.”

While hosted by the school district, the police department will play a key role during the upcoming meetings.

“HPD is partnering with the Hannibal school district in first explaining what A.L.I.C.E. training is to the parents and students. Then practical drills will be conducted at the middle and high school,” said Davis.

The safety meetings follow the February Board of Education meeting during which parents expressed concerns regarding the district’s crisis plan after HHS students were prohibited from traveling from class to class and classroom doors were locked for a period of time on Feb. 21 as district personnel and police investigated an alleged threat.

Stilley believes the meetings will help answer the questions of nervous parents.

“I am very excited to be at this point in the process,” he said. “I look forward to working with our parents, students and community in these potentially life-saving training events.”

“The school district and HPD are going to great lengths to ensure that parents and students are aware of what the training is about prior to conducting the drills,” added Davis. “School safety is an ever-evolving topic, not just nationally, but locally as well. By the school district and HPD working so closing together on these matters improvement and effectiveness of the safety measures will be more swift and practical.”

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com