Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
During a ceremony in New York City, Governor Kathy Hochul signs Alyssa's Law to strengthen school safety June 23, 2022. The legislation is named after 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who was killed in the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. School districts would be required to consider installing silent panic alarms in classrooms. Attending today’s signing ceremony is the family of Alyssa Alhadeff, namely her grandparents Terri and David Rabinovitz, and Linda Beigel Schulman and Michael Schulman, the parents of teacher Scott Beigel who died shielding students from gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul on Thursday signed Alyssa’s Law, which requires schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans.

Afterwards, Governor Hochul and her chief counsel, Elizabeth Fine, discussed the latest US Supreme Court ruling against New York’s current concealed carry law.

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Alyssa’s parents, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, and other members of the family were present for the signing together with State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, Assemblymember Ken Zebrowski, Assemblymember Mike Benedetto, Hampton Bays School District Superintendent Lars Clemensen, and United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew.

In February 2019, 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff was killed in a mass shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida.

Alyssa’s mother and father, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, established a foundation in her memory, and have been advocating for the adoption of silent panic alarm systems in school buildings to directly alert all law enforcement in the area of the school during an active shooter situation, thus allowing for immediate police response.

The bill requires that schools consider the system when developing their district-level school safety plans, and expressly authorize their inclusion within building level safety plans.

The panic alarm systems cost a few thousand dollars to purchase, and can be implemented in the classroom as a smartphone app.

“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.” Hochul called the measure “a real and meaningful piece of legislation.”

The governor, lieutenant governor and other officials contend the bill will help make the state’s schools safer by ensuring law enforcement can respond as quickly as possible in the event of a “horrific event of violence.”

It is certainly true that minutes saved in response time can save lives — but that is only true if those responding take action once they get there. As was seen in the recent tragic Uvalde, Texas mass shooting, that is not always the case.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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