Thursday, December 20, 2018

Florida lawmakers seek silent panic alarms for public schools

Posted By on Thu, Dec 20, 2018 at 11:53 AM

Silent “panic” alarms for emergency situations would be required to link public-school buildings to local law-enforcement agencies under a Senate measure filed Wednesday.

Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, called her proposal (SB 174) “Alyssa’s Law,” after Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old student who was one of the 17 people killed in the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The proposal, filed for consideration during the legislative session that will start in March, would require each building on public elementary, middle or high school campuses to be equipped with at least one panic alarm for use in non-fire evacuations, lockdowns or active shooter situations.

“The panic alarm must be directly linked to the local law enforcement agencies that are designated as first responders to the school’s campus and must immediately transmit a signal or message to such authorities upon activation,” the proposal said.

A similar effort being pursued in New Jersey is also named after Alhadeff. Her family lived in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., before moving to South Florida in 2014.

New Jersey has considered the measure for five years, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the requirement three times, the final time stating he preferred each school district to have the option to install the alarms.

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