Lawmakers & Students Call For Passage of Alyssa’s Law Ahead of Parkland Shooting Anniversary

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Alyssa’s Law named after Parkland Victim, Alyssa Alhadeff, requires silent panic alarms in schools

(Albany, NY) – Today, Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblywoman Elle Jaffee (D-Suffern) held a press conference in support of installing silent panic alarms in all public schools in New York State.

The call for the school security measure, known as Alyssa’s Law (S.3620/A.6234) comes ahead of the 2-year anniversary of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 14 students and 3 adults dead. The legislation is named after Parkland victim, Alyssa Alhadeff who was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and a talented soccer player.

Since Parkland, there has been a school shooting in the U.S., on average, every 12 days, according to CNN.

Senator David Carlucci said, “Today is a time to honor Alyssa, the victims of Parkland and families impacted by gun violence in schools. In Parkland, there was no silent alarm, and instead a fire alarm went off causing mass confusion. A silent panic alarm in every school in the State is a common-sense safety measure that will allow law enforcement to get to an emergency quickly when seconds are precious.  I hope in New York that these alarms are never used, but our educators are now dealing with the prospect that they may need to protect the lives of their students, and this is a simple step to improve safety. I want to thank Alyssa’s cousin Jadyn and her father Jordan for allowing me to champion this bill, and I thank Alyssa’s mother, Lori and her father Illan, who started the non-profit, Make Our Schools Safe to turn this unimaginable tragedy into action across the country with silent panic alarms in schools.”

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said, “As Chair of the Committee on Children and Families, I believe that children should feel safe in their classrooms; and parents should never have to be fearful of sending their kids to school. This is why we must pass Alyssa’s Law. Putting silent alarms in schools will keep our students safe and will alert authorities of active shooters and other non-fire emergencies, without causing panic and distress. I call on the legislature to pass Alyssa’s Law to guarantee the safety of students in schools.”

Senator James Skoufis who co-sponsors the bill said, “Alyssa, her family and friends have turned their mourning and tragedy into action all around the country. We as lawmakers have the obligation to keep our children, our educators and everyone in a school building safe in New York State. This is a common-sense measure, and the budget is a perfect place to address it. Let’s pass the law and appropriate funding.”

Alyssa’s cousins Jadyn Turner and Jordan Turner who are from Senator David Carlucci’s district in Rockland County brought the idea for the bill to his attention after Alyssa’s mother and father helped get the bill signed into law in New Jersey in February of 2019. Jadyn who is 16-years-old has been advocating for the bill’s passage in New York and at the federal level.

Jadyn Turner, Alyssa’s cousin said, “On Wednesday February 14, 2018, my cousin Alyssa was sitting in her English class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In one single moment, everything changed. She took her last breath after being shot 10 times. Never again, would Alyssa attend her English class, kick a soccer ball, or run into the freezing cold ocean. The reality is too common for too many victims of schools shootings. This is why we must pass Alyssa’s Law so that I can go to school feeling safe, and not one more child has to run out of the school screaming because they saw a bullet go through a classmate in Math class.”

Jadyn’s father, Jordan Turner read a statement at the press conference on behalf of Alyssa’s Mother, Lori Alhadeff.

“As we approach the 2-year commemoration, my heart burns with a pain and longing for Alyssa. Alyssa was everything, a bright scholar, a talented soccer player, a wonderful friend to those who knew her, and the center of our family unit. I remember sending a text to Alyssa during the incident, and I told her to run and hide and that help was on the way. Unfortunately, that help had not arrived. Had common-sense school safety measures been in place that day there is a chance that Alyssa and some of the other students and adults murdered would have survived. Time equals life, the faster we can get law enforcement to the scene, the more lives we can save.”

Silent alarms are for a lock-down or active shooter situation and will save minutes, which will save lives. They are usually a button on the wall that someone can press to signal law enforcement immediately. They can also be set off through a phone extension an educator dials, depending on the model. The alarm is silent because when an emergency is happening in a school, experts say chaos can ensue so the idea is to prevent children from running into the hallways in panic.

Right now, the National Center for Education Statistics found only 27 percent of schools across this country report using silent alarms that are connected to local law enforcement. Senator Carlucci said with the increase in schools shootings this is unacceptable. The U.S. has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. 18 percent of school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Alyssa’s Law is currently in the education committee in both houses.