Saturday, December 9, 2023

State Passes Alyssa’s Law Requiring Schools to Consider Panic Alarms

New York State has passed new legislation called Alyssa’s Law, requiring schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans.

The legislation previously passed the State Senate and State Assembly. Governor Kathy Hochul signed it into law today.

“I am proud of the work we have done to pass a nation-leading bill package to crack down on the scourge of gun violence, but this is an ongoing fight and we cannot stop there,” Hochul said. “We will continue to take aggressive action until every child in New York is safe to pursue an education without the fear of senseless tragedy. That’s why I am proud to put pen to paper on Alyssa’s Law, a real and meaningful piece of legislation that will require school districts to evaluate systems that can save precious minutes – and lives – in the event of an active shooter situation.”

In February 2019, Alyssa Alhadeff was killed in a mass shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Her mother and father, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, have established a foundation in her memory, and have advocated for the adoption of silent panic alarm systems in school buildings. The implementation of an alert directly to all law enforcement in the area of a school can save precious minutes in an active shooter situation and allow for immediate police response.

This bill requires that schools consider their usefulness when developing their district-level school safety plans, and expressly authorize their inclusion within building level safety plans. The panic alarm systems themselves can cost just a few thousand dollars to purchase, and can be implemented in the classroom as a smartphone app.

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