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School Safety

Albuquerque Public Schools has a plan in place to keep students and staff safe.

Safety Protocol

Violent attacks at school like those seen in the media are extremely rare. Still, it's important that students and staff be informed and prepared. That's why APS trains students and staff in a safety protocol called ALICE to prepare them to respond to a dangerous intruder on campus. 

ALICE stands for

  • Alert
  • Lockdown
  • Inform
  • Counter
  • Evacuate

Each word describes an action that students and staff could take to protect themselves from a dangerous situation.

The annual training includes teachers and staff presentations by APS Police, age-appropriate videos and books for students, and regular drills.  

Middle and High School Students

At the request of students, APS put together a video to prepare students to respond to a dangerous intruder on campus. Older students will watch the video in their advisory class. 

For elementary school students who may not be intellectually or emotionally mature enough to watch the video, APS is providing an age-appropriate book on the topic that can be read at school. 

School Safety Drills 

State law dictates the types and number of drills schools are required to conduct each year. During the first four weeks of school, an emergency drill will take place once a week:

  • One shelter in place drill (active shooter drill) 
  • One off-site evacuation drill 
  • Two fire drills 

Schools are required to conduct four additional drills during the rest of the school: 

  • Two fire drills
  • Two emergency drills determined by the school.  

Handling Emergencies

  • If there is a potentially dangerous situation near campus – a police investigation, reports of gunfire, a suspicious-looking individual, even a bear – APS will place schools in a "shelter in place." The school building is locked during a shelter in place, and no one may leave or enter, but activity may continue inside the classroom. 
  • ALICE protocol will be initiated if there is a direct threat on campus. When a school activates ALICE, new procedures may call for staff to barricade and fortify their location or evacuate the campus with their students.

The best course of action will be determined based on the best information obtained about the threat.

Learn more by watching the video: ALICE Protocol 

Family Notifications 

Albuquerque Public Schools uses district and school websites, Twitter, and local media along with a communications tool called SchoolMessenger for emergency messaging.

  • If there is an emergency situation at a school, robocalls and emails will be sent to families.
  • Please make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Update your contact information anytime using ParentVUE.
  • Schools don't usually send robocalls to families for reports of threats that aren't credible (including almost all social media threats) or shelters in place that involve potentially dangerous situations near but not on campus (police activity nearby, reports of gunfire, a suspicious-looking individual.) Instead, the school will send a letter to families explaining what happened once we have more information (usually at the end of the day.)
  • APS will post information and update to district and school websites and on Twitter. Follow @ABQschools.
  • Contact your child's school if you need help updating your phone number, email address, emergency contacts, or other information. Visit the School Directory for school contact information.

Updating Safety at Schools

In addition to the active shooter training, APS is working to improve school safety. We continue to:  

  • Install locks that allow staff to secure classrooms safely
  • Improve and add fencing to restrict access to schools
  • Limit entrance points at schools
  • Update alarm and camera systems
  • In some cases, install systems that require visitors to be buzzed into the building.
  • Require all volunteers and visitors to sign in, provide some form of ID, wear a badge while at school and return the badge at the end of the visit. Please remember that volunteers are required to complete a background check

If You See Something, Say Something 

School safety is a community responsibility, and we encourage students, staff, and neighbors to alert us when they learn of potential threats to our schools. We take every possible threat seriously and work closely with law enforcement to keep our campuses safe. We all have a role to play in ensuring our schools remain safe places for learning. Remember: If you see or hear something, say something to a teacher, counselor, administrator, school police officer, or another trusted adult at school.