Gottheimer Leads Effort to Have Panic Alarms Installed in all Schools

June 1, 2021 by TWN Staff
A secondary school on Long Island, N.Y. (Photo by Dan McCue)

Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., is leading a bipartisan effort to have silent panic alarms installed in every primary and secondary school across the nation.

The vehicle for this is the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Alert Act, named for Alyssa Alhadeff, — a North Jersey native who lost her life in the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018.

Gottheimer is introducing the bipartisan bill with five Democratic and five Republican original co-sponsors.

The ALYSSA Act will require silent panic alarms in all schools to immediately alert law enforcement of an active shooter situation. The bill will also increase investment in more well-trained school resource officers, to help protect students and faculty. 

The Alhadeff family originally lived in Gottheimer’s district in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., before moving to Parkland, Fla. 

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, less than a third of schools report using silent alarms that are directly connected to local law enforcement.

“With this bipartisan legislation, we’re turning Alyssa’s memory, and the pain her family and friends carry each day, into action. The ALYSSA Act will help protect students in the one public place they should feel safest: their schools,” Gottheimer said.

“Together, with silent alarms in every school directly connected to local law enforcement agencies and with School Resource Officers at more schools around the country, we are taking concrete steps to help keep students and faculty safe from gun violence and active situations,” he added.

The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to require silent alarms in elementary schools and secondary schools, and for other purposes. it also sets aside $50 million to be allocated as grants to help school districts defray the cost of the security measures.

“On 2-14-2018, I texted my daughter Alyssa, telling her to run and hide and that help was on the way.  That help never arrived and Alyssa died. Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in Schools Safety Alert Act needs to be a legislative priority in order to make our schools safe.  The time is now, not AFTER the next school shooting,” said Lori Alhadeff, Alyssa’s mother.

The other cosponsors are Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., Elain Luria, D-Va., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., Darren Soto, D-Fla., Jaime Herrera Beutler, R- Wash., Andy Kim, D-N.J., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y., Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y. and Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J.

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