Heath Brook- Safety Update
October 13, 2022
Important safety Drill Information from Mrs. Gerrish and Superintendent Theriault-Regan
Dear Parents and Guardians of Students Grades PK-2,
Today your child participated in a practice DRILL of the A.L.I.C.E. Emergency Protocols similar to what they learned in the previous emergency training through the book “I’m Not Scared, I’m Prepared” by Julia Cook and the A.L.I.C.E. Institute.
Your child’s teacher guided the students through simulated scenarios where they practiced A.L.I.C.E. (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) in an age-appropriate manner. After the drill, students debriefed the experience with their teacher and had the opportunity to ask questions.
Once again, today was only a drill. There was no actual threat present at your child’s school. Please see the reverse side of this letter for support information and follow-up questions you may want to review with your child after the drill.
If you would like to know more about the A.L.I.C.E. Emergency Protocol, please visit the Tewksbury Public School website for an informative presentation and our own student-created A.L.I.C.E. training videos: https://www.tewksbury.k12.ma.us/general/a-l-i-c-e/
While we hope to never have to actually use the A.L.I.C.E. emergency protocols, preparation and maintenance of the safety and security of students, staff, and all related members of the Tewksbury Public Schools is our number one concern.
Please feel free to contact your child’s school if you have further questions regarding the A.L.I.C.E. protocol.
Tips and Suggestions For Parents Regarding
The A.L.I.C.E Drill & Practice Exercises
Provided by Alexandra Meeker, Ryan School Psychologist
If your child is anxious about the ALICE practice drill, it’s important to reassure them that they are safe. It’s important to listen to your child’s concerns and be aware that they may be different than your concerns.
Remember: Children are familiar with fire drills, but most have never encountered a fire at school. You can have your child remember how they felt for the first fire drill. Usually they were nervous or worried about the loud sound. You can ask them how many years have they been doing fire drills? How many fire drills they think they have done in their lives? Usually this is a substantial number. Then you can ask the child how many fires have been at school? This is usually a very infrequent occurrence. Stress that it’s important to practice, just in case. It’s important to practice the ALICE protocol, too, even though it is very unlikely that we would ever have to use it.
A.L.I.C.E. Training and Practice Review: You may want to review the student created video on the Tewksbury Public School website (Ryan School Version) outlining key points of the ALICE protocol. https://www.tewksbury.k12.ma.us/general/a-l-i-c-e/
Here are some additional tips and questions to discuss to help manage anxiety:
“I know you practiced an emergency drill today...can you tell me about it?” Asking questions like this helps to gauge your own child’s comprehension of the activity.
Remember, your child will mirror your emotional reactions and problem-solving behaviors. It is important that you remain neutral and calm as they describe the drill. Comments like “Oh”... “Ah”...”Tell me more”... lets your child direct his/her own emotions.
“How did you feel today during the ALICE Practice Drill?” It’s important to validate their feelings while remaining neutral and calm and reaffirming that it was only a practice.
Use positive talk: “I know you can get through this”… “Today was not a real emergency”... “It was just to prepare for a bad event”... “Just like we do for a fire drill, bus evacuation, or lockdown at school… or another emergency practice you might do at home.”
It’s important not to make the anxiety the central focus of the conversation. Turn the conversation towards what the child learned. It is important to give praise and reassurance that your child got through a difficult practice, and was always safe at school during this drill.
Gauge your child’s confidence after the training. “Do you feel like you know what to do better now after your practice?” “What would you do differently in the next practice?” Successful practice in working through stressful situations, at both school and home, builds confidence.
Keep in mind that this new protocol empowers your child to begin to develop problem-solving skills that they can use the rest of their lives as they go on to college, in the workplace, or even at the mall.
If your child is still struggling with significant anxiety, please call your child’s teacher and/or school counselor to let them know your child is feeling this way. Your child’s teacher, the school principal, and/or the school counselor is available to help your child.