Legislation (S.7132B/A.10018) Requires Schools to Consider Silent Panic Alarm Systems as Part of Safety Plans
Outlines Plans for Robust Public Education Campaign on Newly Expanded Red Flag Law to Keep Guns Away from Dangerous People
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed Alyssa's Law (S.7132B/A.10018), requiring schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans. The Governor signed the bill alongside Alyssa's parents, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, other members of Alyssa's family, 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.
"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," Governor 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. That's why I am proud to put pen to paper on Alyssa's Law, a real and meaningful piece of legislation that will require school districts to evaluate systems that can save precious minutes - and lives - in the event of an active shooter situation."
"Ensuring that our students make it home safe from school at the end of every day is one of our greatest responsibilities as a community," Lieutenant Governor Delgado said. "By signing Alyssa's Law, Governor Hochul is providing school districts with an added measure for keeping kids safe and deterring mass shootings in our schools. Having this safety measure in place will help ease parents' fears when they send their kids off to school every day."
In February 2019, Alyssa Alhadeff was killed in a mass shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Her mother and father, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, have established a foundation in her memory, and have advocated for the adoption of silent panic alarm systems in school buildings. The implementation of an alert directly to all law enforcement in the area of a school can save precious minutes in an active shooter situation and allow for immediate police response.
This bill requires that schools consider their usefulness when developing their district-level school safety plans, and expressly authorize their inclusion within building level safety plans. The panic alarm systems themselves can cost just a few thousand dollars to purchase, and can be implemented in the classroom as a smartphone app.
Following the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, and so many before it, this bill is important step in making New York schools safer. This measure will help to ensure that, in the horrific event of violence in a school, law enforcement can respond as quickly as possible, and there is no delay in all available law enforcement personnel responding. Minutes saved in response time could save lives.
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.
State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said, "Gun violence has shattered the lives of far too many families, but Alyssa's Law is an important step to keeping our kids safe in school. I am in awe of the strength and resilience of Alyssa's mom Lori and her whole family, who have made it their mission to improve school safety after the loss of their beloved Alyssa in 2018. Thank you Governor Hochul for signing this crucial legislation. Progress against gun violence is possible, and New York is leading the way."
Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski Jr. said, "As we continue to see tragedy unfold at schools across the country, panic alarms are an important step to ensure swift notification of first responders and emergency services, and they are something that all schools should have. The tireless advocacy of Alyssa's mother Lori, her cousin Jadyn, and their family has been crucial in getting this bill passed and signed into law today. This statute will continue to honor Alyssa's memory. I thank Governor Hochul for taking action and signing this bill into law that will make our schools safer for students across New York."
Alyssa's Mother, Lori Alhadeff, said, "New York's passage of Alyssa's Law represents a true investment in the lives of students and teachers across the state. Time equals life and honoring our daughter Alyssa in this way will help to Make Our Schools Safe."
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said, "At a time when too many politicians are giving lip-service to addressing gun violence, Gov. Hochul is taking action. From strengthening New York gun laws to today's work looking at school safety and providing meaningful Red Flag training for educators, Gov. Hochul is standing with educators and parents to protect our children."
Hampton Bays School District Superintendent Lars Clemensen said, "School safety continues to be the top priority of school leaders. Tools like Alyssa's Law, ERPO, gun safety measures, partnerships with law enforcement and resources for mental health are all part of a Blueprint for School Safety that allows districts to plan, adapt and build safe school communities. Thank you to Governor Hochul and the legislature for their passionate focus on this important issue."
New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said, "A safe, secure, welcoming learning environment is paramount for our students, the staff who work with them and the families who rely on our public school system. It's common sense to ensure school safety teams are reviewing all the tools at their disposal that can help speed up the emergency response in the event of a crisis. Governor Hochul and the Legislature have shown real leadership in response to Buffalo, Uvalde and the collective trauma school communities across this state have dealt with and we applaud their action here."
Executive Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents Charles Dedrick said, "The recent tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde have highlighted an ever present concern for school superintendents: can we ensure for our communities — and ourselves — that we are doing everything possible every day to keep our students and employees safe? We need partners from state government and law enforcement and look forward to working together to inform school district leaders about how new state laws can help us to achieve that goal."
New York State PTA President Dana Platin said, "During these troubling times, New York's laser light focus on keeping our children and educators safe in schools is welcoming and right. We applaud Governor Hochul and the sponsors of this critical legislation for standing by our children and our youth - and know they have a partner in NYS PTA."
New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider said, "We recognize that panic alarm systems can play an important role in a school district's safety protocols. We appreciate efforts by the Governor and the Legislature to ensure that districts have the power to consider the potential value of such systems and to decide whether installation of panic alarms would be an appropriate safety precaution for their schools."
Executive Director of the School Administrators Association of New York Kevin Casey said, "Passage of Alyssa's Law demonstrates how New York has taken the lead in response to the nationwide plea of school principals to 'do something - do anything' to protect students and educators. When the Governor signs this bill, educators and law enforcement officers will have one more tool to address an active shooter or violent situation in our schools. The School Administrators Association of New York State appreciates the leadership that Governor Hochul has demonstrated and continues to support even stronger actions to protect New York schools. All students need to feel safe in our schools and educators must have the necessary tools to protect our children."
Executive Director Rural Schools Association David Little, Esq. said, "The Rural Schools Association is pleased to support increased efforts to bolster the safety of students and staff. Tragically, the school shooting phenomenon has not been slowed by current practices. Faster notification of police and emergency personnel can only save lives and we urge the prompt implementation of this additional measure. We are also pleased to work with state leaders to increase awareness of new practices and policies intended to provide additional protection for those in a school setting. RSA applauds the Governor for addressing this crisis."
During Thursday's bill signing event, Governor Hochul also outlined plans to launch a robust and multifaceted public education campaign surrounding New York State's newly expanded Red Flag Law - with a specific focus on educators and mental health professionals. This summer, the state will partner in providing a series of in-person and virtual trainings for school boards, superintendents, teachers, school related professionals, principals, and parent-teacher associations. These trainings will clearly indicate how and when to complete the necessary paperwork to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) as well as address questions.
Additionally, state leaders will convene a series of roundtables specifically for local and county law enforcement, where they will detail new policies and procedures required under the law and best practices for implementation. These roundtables will be led by State Police and the Municipal Police Training Council, which is housed within the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Trainings will also be developed for emergency call center professionals.
The State is also creating a comprehensive suite of digital and physical educational materials to be unveiled in the upcoming weeks and months. They include an overhauled Red Flag Law website with key information for educators and mental health professionals, public service announcements and social media content.
On May 18, 2022, Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order that requires State Police to file for an ERPO whenever they have probable cause to believe that an individual is a threat to themselves or others.
On June 6, 2022, Governor Hochul signed a landmark legislative package to strengthen gun laws, including a substantial expansion to the Red Flag Flaw. Legislation S.9113-A/A.10502 expands who may file an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) petition to include health care practitioners who have examined an individual within the last six months. It amends the firearm licensing statute to ensure that mental health practitioners' reports on potentially harmful individuals are considered closely when determining whether to issue a firearm license.
It also requires police and district attorneys to file ERPO petitions when they have acquired credible information that an individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm—either to themselves or others. It requires State Police and the Municipal Police Training Council to create and disseminate policies and procedures to identify when an ERPO petition may be warranted.
The expanded Red Flag Law goes into effect on Wednesday, July 6.
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