Rep. Josh Gottheimer formally introduced the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Alert Act (ALYSSA Act) that will require silent panic alarms in all schools and increased investment in more well-trained School Resource Officers.
This bill is named in memory of North Jersey native, Alyssa Alhadeff, who tragically lost her life in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The Alhadeff family is originally from Woodcliff Lake, NJ, and Gotthemier’s district.
“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 explained.
“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.”
Gottheimer has been pushing this bill since February of this year. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 29% of schools report using these types of alarms and the goal is for the ALYSSA Act to address the gap in security across the U.S. The bill will implement a new system to promote safety in schools and aid in preventing future tragedies.
The proposed law will mandate schools that receive federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to install silent alarms, which could average $1,000 per school.
Alyssa’s mother, Lori Alhadeff, has advocated for silent alarms in schools and is grateful for the action being taken in Washington in honor of her daughter.
“Getting panic buttons in schools across the country, bringing this standard level of protection to every school…..is so vitally important in saving lives,” said Alhadeff. “We need to empower our teachers to push a button directly linking to law enforcement so that they can get on the scene to take down the threat or triage the victims.”
Gottheimer is joined by five Democratic and five Republican additional co-sponsors in introducing this bipartisan bill. Supporters of the bill believe this joint effort will address a gap in security promote safety for schools in New Jersey and across the country.
“Our schools should be a secure learning environment for our kids, and unfortunately that means taking steps like ensuring every school has silent alarms to prepare for the unthinkable,” Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) said. “The ALYSSA Act is an important step forward in keeping our kids safe and one Congress should take up and pass immediately.”
This bill is a step towards a more logical and permanent fix.
“Legislation that keeps our children in schools safe must be a top priority for everyone in Congress,” Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY) said. “While Congress works to address our nation’s epidemic of gun violence by passing common sense gun-violence prevention legislation, there are other tangible, necessary steps we must take—like passing the ALYSSA ACT.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) added, “In order to protect our children from violence in schools, we must help teachers, administrators, school resource officers, and local law enforcement work together to prevent and combat threats. The ALYSSA Act is a straightforward solution to achieve that goal by equipping schools with an efficient tool to safely alert local police as soon as possible.”