Kanawha County Schools Changing Active-Shooter Safety Plan

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Summer is winding down for kids all across our region, and following a few months where public shootings have played out time and again, parents have concerns.

"It's kinda sad," said April Phalin. "I feel kinda lucky around here because we don't really seem to have that many problems."

Phalin is a mother of an 8-year old and a 9-year old.

She's finding some peace of mind that their school will have a new safety plan this year.

"It's more of an active preparedness than an passive resistance," said Keith Vititoe.

Vititoe, Kanawha County School's director of security, is teaching all 4,000 full-time staff and even students A.L.I.C.E training. It stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate.

It's a new way to think about stopping intruders.

The old way of thinking had students hiding with the lights off. This one is active, with a three-step approach.

First, form a barricade.

"We would use tables and chairs within the room, and the desk; bookshelves, anything big and heavy and we would just start to pile that stuff in front of the door," said Vititoe, who spent 22 years with the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Vititoe says even the smallest hindrance can force a shooter to move on.

The second step: get outside as soon as it's safe.

Finally, as a last resort, fight and distract.

"It's a life-or-death struggle," Vitatoe said. "It's OK if they pick up a textbook or a book bag and they be prepared to actually throw it at the individual."

No doubt, it's a tough conversation and topic, but one that can help save lives.

An additional hope is that as these students leave school, they can use this training in real-life situations. For example, movie theater or church shootings like we have seen recently.

Kanawha County Schools will also be increasing their mandatory active training drills from one to four this upcoming year.

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