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Staff takes ALICE training to prepare for active shooter

Dixon High staff underwent the same training

PRINCETON — The staff at Princeton High School has been undergoing ALICE training sessions to better prepare itself if there is ever an active shooter on campus. 

During a regular board meeting Wednesday, Principal Andy Berlinski reported the staff spent Friday, Oct. 5, working through scenarios and simulations related to ALICE. 

“For some, it was a real heavy dose of reality in terms of what we live with now,” he said. 

Berlinski said the staff was pushed hard throughout the training to simulate a “real stressful environment.” 

“I really do believe they rose to the occasion,” he said. 

Since the ALICE training sessions began last month, Berlinski said he feels the staff is much better prepared than it was and “light-years ahead” of where it was a year ago when lockdown procedures were being practiced.  

ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate, and is being taught to schools as a more proactive way to handle an aggressive intruder or active shooter event. 

Berlinski mentioned that he and Assistant Principal Jeff Ohlson recently attended a board meeting at LaSalle-Peru High School where representatives from Dixon High School talked about their active shooting that happened in May during a graduation practice.

In that particular situation, Dixon’s school resource officer Mark Dallas shot and wounded the 19-year-old active shooter before he was able to injure or kill staff or students.

Berlinski said Dixon High School is also an ALICE-trained school. 

“Knowing we’re doing something similar to what their doing makes me very, very happy,” he said. 

During the training day earlier this month, the staff worked with the Princeton Police Department and school resource officer Sara Rokey. 

The high school hired Rokey as a full-time SRO in August, and Berlinski said it’s been a great partnership with the police department. 

“That really has added to the sense of not at ease with the situation, but feeling better about the situation,” he said. 

In other news, the board:

• Recognized the October Students of the Month: Keegan Fogarty, a freshman; Ida Kappel-Boysen, a senior; Joseph Schillaci, a senior; Anthony Wendling, a junior; Matt Garver, a senior; and Lindsay Meredith, a junior. 

• Accepted the resignation of Tim Forristall as assistant baseball coach. Approved the employment of Amanda Frank as special education paraprofessional. 

• Approved winter season coaches as follow: Kevin Howard, boys basketball head coach and Michael Murray, Tim Smith and Daniel Murray as assistant coaches; Tiffany Gonigam, girls basketball head coach and Abbie Bosnich, Val Reuter and Wayne Bailey as assistant coaches; Steve Amy, wrestling head coach and Aaron Christiansen, RK Lunn and Brian Taylor as assistant coaches; and Rob McNally as individual swimming coach. 

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