YSU offers active shooter training, but many don’t take advantage

Students say they didn't know Youngstown State offered ALICE active shooter response training classes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Security forces and students at Youngstown State University think it’s just a matter of time before their campus is targeted by violence similar to Monday’s attack at Ohio State.

Varso says his officers are the first line of defense for campus, but he won’t hesitate to ask for help if it’s needed.

“We have the benefit of having not only the City of Youngstown close by, but also Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies we could call on quickly if we needed it.”

Even though police are quick to respond, it’s important that students and faculty know what to do if there’s an emergency.

To prepare everyone on campus for the possibility of a violent attack, YSU started offering ALICE training a few years ago. ALICE stands for “Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.”

Now that law enforcement realizes staying put and hiding isn’t always the best answer to a crisis, ALICE training teaches people to react differently to violent situations.

The main idea behind ALICE training is to get out of the situation if possible. If not, it says to hide in a dark room and barricade the door in the hope that a violent intruder will pass by.

As a last resort, ALICE training teaches how to confront or disable an attacker.

“It gives them some sort of training, some options to do on how to counter that active shooter if that is their last resort,” said Shawn Varso, interim YSU Police Chief.

Student Zack Weightman says that training could be valuable.

“I think people are more unaware on how to defend against these situations, so I think maybe classes on every campus in America so we can prevent this.”

The training has been offered for several years, but only a small fraction of the around 12,000 people on YSU’s campus each day have actually taken the classes.

Elizabeth Schantz says she hasn’t gone to a training class even though she’s been a YSU student for four years. She wonders why she didn’t know about it and says more people need to be made aware of the training that’s available.

“From an early age, we were taught to hide underneath desks like sitting ducks, and they’re now implementing teachings about, ‘No, you need to get out. You need to protect yourself. You don’t hide, you run.'”

Every semester, the crisis training is offered to new students on campus and resident hall assistants.

For more information about the training, visit the ALICE website.