School police association rejects training students to attack armed intruders

Posted by on December 13, 2012

The national association representing school-based police officers does NOT endorse the idea of teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders, its executive director confirmed earlier today.

The association also does NOT endorse the idea of teaching school-based police officers to teach students to throw objects and attack armed intruders.

Mo Canady, Executive Director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), provided written confirmation of NASRO’s position in an email to me this morning. NASRO has more than 3,000 members from across the United States and internationally.

NASRO position conflicts with ALICE training company statements

Canady’s message directly conflicts with public statements attributed to Greg Crane, head of the Texas-based company Response Options that provides “A.L.I.C.E.” training which includes teaching students to throw objects at armed gunmen. The company’s 2007 staff booklet states that after throwing objects, “While he’s busy ducking and covering his head from our air assault, we must now begin the ground assault.”

A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Escape. The “Counter” component has created significant debate and some controversy with experienced school safety professionals and educators who question the concept and implementation behind teaching students to throw objects at and attack armed intruders.

In a series of online posts on the web site of a Boston news talk radio station, a Wednesday post attributed to Crane stated:

“Did you know that NASRO (National Association of School Resource Officers) is now going to offer enhanced lockdown strategies training for SRO’s? We have been contracted to conduct that training.”

Late Thursday, another post attributed to Crane stated:

“We have a contract with NASRO to teach Enhanced Lockdown Strategies. What do you think those strategies will be? The same ones that I have presented to them at 3 different annual conferences. ALiCE strategies.”

But on Wednesday, NASRO’s President Kevin Quinn wrote in an email:

“NASRO has entered into a  agreement to have Greg Crane develop a new curriculum for us regarding Enhancing Lockdowns. As of right now, we do not have a draft of the course so I can’t speak to the details as of yet.”

Quinn went on to say that, “NASRO, as a not-for-profit, does not and can not endorse any product or outside course.” A.L.I.C.E. is a course outside of NASRO.

And as NASRO’s executive director Canady confirmed earlier today, the nation’s school-based policing association does not endorse the idea of teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders, nor does it endorse School Resource Officers providing such teaching.

Question grow on A.L.I.C.E. training and school-based officers teaching students to attack gunmen

Last week, the Boston Globe reported that the school board in Canton, MA, stopped the planned training of students in A.L.I.C.E. after questions arose by school board members amid objections from some parents. The superintendent was quoted as saying that the district was not ready to go beyond training of staff and that the district was under no time constraint to implement the program.

A closer look into the origins and history of the A.L.I.C.E. training program reveals that the school district in Burleson, TX, where the A.L.I.C.E. concept reportedly originally was developed, halted the training of students after public attention was drawn to the issue of students attacking armed intruders.

Crane has been attributed as saying that more than 300 districts have implemented A.L.I.C.E. training.

Questions have also been raised regarding how parents are notified about the actual content of A.L.I.C.E. training, especially the “Counter” component of teaching students to throw items at armed gunmen.

And now that the national association representing more than 3,000 school-based police officers is on the record indicating that it does not endorse teaching students to throw objects at, or to attack, armed gunmen, it will be interesting to see what potential conflicts and liability risks might arise for those officers who proceed with such training counter to the association’s position.

UPDATE: August 17, 2013

It has been brought to my attention that a web site selling ALICE Training is claiming that the above blog article misrepresents what NASRO stated, so I am copying below the full email response from NASRO’s Executive Director, Mo Canady.  His message is pretty straightforward: “NASRO does not endorse  the idea of teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders.”  Here is the email response in full so you can decide:

From: To:, CC: Sent: 12/13/2012 7:59:34 A.M. Eastern Standard Time Subj: RE: Public information inquiry on NASRO and ALICE training

Good Morning Ken,

Thank you for your interest and your comments regarding yesterday’s senate hearing on “Ending the School to Prison Pipeline”.  Overall I feel that the hearing went quite well.  There were over 400 people in attendance which created quite a problem since there were only 246 seats available in the room!  Excellent testimony was provided in defense of properly trained SRO’s and their effectiveness on the school campus.

In regards to your questions about ALICE training, please see my responses below…

Would NASRO even consider any curriculum for SROs that involves teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders?  NASRO does not endorse the idea of teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders.

What concerns and issues does NASRO have, if any, on SROs teaching students to throw objects and attack armed intruders?  NASRO does not endorse the idea of teaching SRO’s to teach students to throw objects and attack armed intruders?

Would SROs involved in teaching students to attack armed intruders risk furthering allegations by civil rights special interest groups that school police are fostering a “police state” climate that is excessive and inappropriate for students?  I suppose that any action could risk further allegations, however NASRO does not endorse teaching students to attack armed intruders.

Thanks for your continued interest in the work that we are doing.

Kindest Regards,

Mo Canady

Executive Director  NASRO

National Association of

School Resource Officers

(205) 281-5521 Cell

(205) 739-6063 Direct

(651) 286-0804 Fax

1-888-316-2776 NASRO Office

Join us July 14-19, 2013 for the 23rd SRO-SCHOOL SAFETY CONFERENCE in Orlando, Florida.


Ken Trump

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12 thoughts on “School police association rejects training students to attack armed intruders

  1. Shawn Slezak says:

    That’s terrible!!! Ohhhh. When will these people learn??? I am so glad that I live in Iowa, where common sense prevail and we provide all our children with education and the tools necessary to survive!!

  2. Shawn Slezak says:

    Do these schools realize how they open themselves up to these shooters??

  3. Raven says:

    Well I wonder if they will change their view now? Obviously your best practices and all did NOT work very well in Conn. Other options are needed and as long as people like you continue to follow old ways children will continue to die. Open your mind, you can’t even see beyond your own nose.
    By the way, I looked at your resume, a glorified security guard with NO professional background in military, law enforcement, conflict management or anything else that I could see does NOT an expert make. So you took a few classes and called yourself a consultant, please don’t continue to insult the real professionals by including yourself in their world.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Sure, “Raven.” I guess by your theory, the kids should have thrown a few pencils and paper airplanes at the guy while he was shooting out glass and anyone in his way. Yep, that would have done it.

      By the way, besides not understanding what you’ve been looking at or don’t know what you don’t know, I always find it interesting that you chest-thumping, self-proclaimed “warrior” boys love to make personal attacks but don’t even have the cohones to sign your full name. Perhaps like one or more other ALICE opportunists, if you put your real name and background out, we’d find that it’s as checkered and controversial as what we know exists behind the ALICE founder and concept in general.

      Since you can’t seem to have an intelligent discussion without personal attacks, please do not waste your time posting here again. Go whine elsewhere.

  4. As a school resource officer, I can understand why there are ‘policies’ in place. But I also have a problem with letting kids be led like sheep to the slaughter. If they cant run to safety, then they should fight back. If there is an active shooter, they will shoot them even if the student remain passive. But if even one student tries to knock them down or off balance, then maybe there is a chance for survival. These monsters are not superhuman.

  5. John Henderson CPP says:

    I am stunned that experienced security analysts would advocate that children should throw items at an armed attacker and then try to overcome them. I completely agree with Ken, and I have significant military and law enforcement as a background. I am also an experienced security professional, which is actually quite a different vocation from police/military as I learned over the years, but with some overlap. By themselves, soldiers and police officers are not security experts! On the other hand, security expertise takes years to develop, and does not require police or military background.

    I am equally dismayed with the theory that kids, teachers and school administrators should be trained. These people are not soldiers or police officers, screened and trained for this kind of response. In my estimation, most objects thrown at a gunman likely will not hit the gunman, but rather will likely just get his attention before his firepower is brought down on the poor person that threw the item in the first place. Requiring teachers to train with firearms is hugely expensive and not practical. Most became teachers because they are teachers and not police or soldiers. It would be huge liability and rather dangerous to put a gun in the hands of someone that was not screened and hired for that purpose.

    I believe that access control remains the answer in the short term to make it difficult for the intruder to get in. I am talking about low-cost policies/strategies coupled with some minor hardware changes. Some behavioural changes within the school culture can make a whole lot of difference in keeping a gunman out, rather than having to respond to one already inside the school. This whole issue is complex from the availability of automatic assault weapons to support systems for persons with mental challenges. Adding more armed people to the mix is not the answer and will result in more tragedy. An enhanced lockdown strategy should be designed to keep intruders out, not fight with them after they get inside.

    1. Ken Trump says:

      Thank you, John. It is great to hear another voice of reason.

  6. To sit back and look at the victim(s) of Sandy Hook as a reason to somehow support ALICE lacks true understanding of very basic school safety principles. As a matter of fact, as very sad as the loss of life was, the fact that the school had many safety features in place, trained the faculty and staff and responded quickly, may have saved additional lives the suspect was obviously prepared to take based upon the amount of ammo he possessed.

    Again, I go back to the fact the the “COUNTER” part of the ALICE curricula is nothing more then a hunch by a salesman trying to sell his product. Reality is there is not one single case of a ALICE trained classroom of kids that applied the techniques and prevented kids from being murdered. Yet, there are many cases as pointed out in many articles this week where a gunman enters a class and shoots no one!

    As the former Executive Director of NASRO and current Executive Director of the School Safety Advocacy Council ALICE would have NEVER received our support and/or endorsement, not can I imagine POlice Chiefs or Sheriffs allowing their officers to engage in this training of our children.

  7. Jim says:

    Is there a perfect solution, no there is not. The response (according to media reports)took 14 minutes until the shooter was dead. We need to give schools the tools to react and survive during those critical first minutes, lock-down is part of it, but not the end all-cure all. The rapid deployment tactics used by law enforcement saved lives in Sandy Hook. The change in tactics from “isolate and contain” to rapid deployment is a direct result of the response during Columbine. Your dismissal of the evolution of school tactics ignores hard realities. The 6 year old who got his little buddies and ran out of the building sure understood. This is not “chest thumping” Mr. Trump, just the application of sound tactics to give educators more options than just a lock-down.

  8. Barbara Cook says:

    ALICE is not meant to be for elementary schools…
    In our district we have been trained in ALICE and I think it is best for older students to be trained in this. Sitting ducks do not create the ideal situation for survival do they? As far as throwing paper airplanes…those are not “environmental weapons”. Better examples for ALICE would be scissors, heavy textbooks, even a large chair. This is why it is better for older children. You are not guaranteeing that you will even injure the intruder however buying more time to escape, distract.

  9. James G says:

    As an ALICE instructor, I’m somewhat disturbed by what I read on these blogs. Not once have I read about someone going to the course and then say it was crazy. All who oppose ALICE quote others who havn’t attended. When I went through the instructors course for ALICE, there were a diversified 52 attendees. Police chiefs, superintendents, administrators, teachers, talk show hosts and others. All enjoyed the course and none of them said it would not fit with their business or school. All attendees are supporters of the program. For those who are wondering, I do keep in touch with all of them. I teach a three hour course at no cost and my only benefit is the hope that it may save a life. If you actually attend the course and dislike it, I can accept that. Basing your opinions of a program based on other opinions is lazy and irresponsible. Some say just use common sense in an active shooter scenario. I think we all know that common sense is not common.
    One man’s opinion.

  10. Jeff McClaren says:

    Just attended an ALICE Training and it was an eye opening experince. There isn’t anything in the ALICE concept that puts our school children in more danger from an active shooter and there are many examples of making it much safer. Doing nothing plays right into the active shooters expectations.

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