‘Alyssa’s Law’ to Require Silent Panic Alarms in All N.J. Public Schools
The newly signed law is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a New Jersey native who was killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.
On Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A764, also known as “Alyssa’s Law,” requiring all public schools to install silent panic alarms that will alert law enforcement during an emergency.
According to a press release, the law is in memory of Alyssa Alhadeff, a New Jersey native who was one of 17 people killed in last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Alyssa’s death is a stark reminder of the dangers of gun violence and the need for adequate school security measures,” said Murphy. “In New Jersey, we will do everything in our power to prevent these tragedies from occurring within our borders.”
Sponsors of the bill include Assembly members Ralph Caputo, Cleopatra Tucker, Anette Quijano, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Shavonda Sumter, and Angela McKnight, and Senators Ronald Rice and Teresa Ruiz.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our children and their teachers. Gun violence is a public health crisis which has affected the security of our communities for far too long,” said Ruiz. “When we drop our children off at school we should be confident that they are safe from harm. This law is a proactive way of making our schools better protected against the threat of violence.”
Some of the same Assembly members, including Caputo, tried to get similar legislation passed in 2014. However, then-Governor Chris Christie vetoed the legislation, questioning if panic alarms in schools were the best tool to protect students.
“Our children deserve the chance to learn in peace,” Caputo said. “It has taken six years to get to this day. I thank the leadership of the Assembly and Senate for posting the bill, as well as, the governor for creating a pathway for the legislation to become law. Alyssa’s family and community have been steadfast champions of this bill and I commend them for that. Coupled with security measures already in place, this law can increase the chances of diffusing a bad situation without further harm to students and staff.”
If your school or district is considering installing panic alarms, check out this Campus Safety interview with Mark Jarman, president of Inovonics, on how mobile duress systems can help campuses respond to incidents.