Forum addresses school violence

Sgt. Bill Clifford speaking at the public education forum on Jan. 29.

Sgt. Bill Clifford speaking at the public education forum on Jan. 29.

County 4-H Fairgrounds. The goal of the evening was to educate area residents on how to prevent and respond to issues of violence when they occur in the workplace and schools.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics have released preliminary data from 2013 which shows that there were 397 fatal workplace injuries in the United States that were classified as homicides.

“Personal safety is so important. Sometimes people don’t always understand how to prepare. We think that providing people with information in a meaningful way is vital to their safety,” said Sgt. Bill Clifford, who served as the key speaker for the workplace violence portion of the presentation. “Information is power, and helping people empower themselves is essential.”

With years of study and practical experience in the field of use of force issues, Sgt. Clifford explained how to prepare for and respond to issues of violence that might arise in the workplace.

Deputy Brad Osswald, a school resource officer in the Hamilton Heights school district shared information about the ALICE program taught in Hamilton County schools. ALICE is broken up into five strategies:

Alert: Notify as many people as possible within the danger zone that a potentially life threatening risk exists.

Lockdown: Secure in place, and prepare to evacuate or counter, if needed.

Inform: Continue to communicate the intruder’s location in real time.

Counter: Interrupt the intruder and make it difficult or impossible to aim.

Evacuate: Remove yourself from the danger zone when it is safe to do so.

“I think the parents and grandparents with children in school system need to know what’s being taught in schools. We have a plan in the school to help children survive in a violent event. We feel that ALICE is the best program because it enhances their ability to use their senses to find the ability to survive,” said Osswald.