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RELEASE: Gottheimer Introduces the ALYSSA Act — Bipartisan School Safety Legislation In Memory of Parkland Shooting Victim from North Jersey
Requires silent panic alarms in all public schools & increases access to School Resource Officers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) formally introduced bipartisan legislation, the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Alert Act (ALYSSA Act), named after Alyssa Alhadeff — a North Jersey native who lost her life in the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, in 2018. Gottheimer is introducing the bipartisan bill with an additional five Democratic and five Republican original co-sponsors.
The ALYSSA Act will require silent panic alarms in all schools to immediately alert law enforcement of an active shooter situation. The bill will also increase investment in more well-trained School Resource Officers, to help protect students and faculty.
The Alhadeff family originally lived in Gottheimer’s district in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, before moving to Parkland, FL.
According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, less than a third of schools report using silent alarms that are directly connected to local law enforcement.
“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,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “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.”
“On 2-14-2018, I texted my daughter Alyssa, telling her to run and hide and that help was on the way. That help never arrived and Alyssa died. Alyssa's Legacy Youth in Schools Safety Alert Act needs to be a legislative priority in order to make our schools safe. The time is now, not AFTER the next school shooting,” said Lori Alhadeff, mother of Alyssa Alhadeff.
“Too often in recent years, parents have sent their children to school – and tragically it would be the last time they saw them. The pain and grief is unthinkable. We have to do more to put an end to school shootings in this country,” Congressman Fred Upton (MI-6) said. “The ALYSSA Act is a concrete, common sense step to better protect our children and our schools. As I reached out to my education and law enforcement leaders, they all concurred that doing anything to shorten the time for a response is a very good thing that ultimately saves lives.”
“Even the small step of installing silent alarms in our public schools can help save lives during a tragedy such as a mass shooting,” Congresswoman Elain Luria (VA-2) said. “It is my fervent hope that these are never needed in Virginia or in any state. However, we must do all that we can to protect the lives of our children and I’m proud to stand with members of both parties on this important proposal.”
“I’m proud to join the reintroduction of the ALYSSA Act. This bipartisan legislation reduces gun violence in our children’s schools by equipping institutions with silent alarms for emergency use. It’s one step closer in ensuring tragic events such as the Parkland shooting never happen again,” said Congressman Carlos Gimenez (FL-26).
“As our nation focuses on a safe return to the classroom for our students, we must also acknowledge the need for measures that protect our children from the threat of gun violence,” said Congressman Darren Soto (FL-9). “This bipartisan effort to require silent alarms in all schools connected to local law enforcement and invest in well-trained School Resource Officers is a major step forward in our efforts to pass common sense gun reform.”
“School resource officers can be a vital way for law enforcement to support schools in prioritizing student safety, preventing tragic outcomes and responding to incidents quickly. I’m helping introduce bipartisan legislation that expands schools’ ability to utilize on-site school resource officers, and also have silent alarms connected directly to local law enforcement. Congress should continue taking commonsense steps to make student safety a top priority,” said Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03).
“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. The ALYSSA Act is an important step forward in keeping our kids safe and one Congress should take up and pass immediately,” said Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-3)
“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,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21).
“Legislation that keeps our children in schools safe must be a top priority for everyone in Congress,” said Congressman Tom Suozzi (NY-3). “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.”
“At a time when some politicians want to ban police officers from our schools, I’m proud to support this important piece of legislation that works to ensure our students, teachers and staff have faster access to law enforcement personnel in the event of an emergency,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11). “No parent should be afraid of sending their child to school. This legislation provides schools with the necessary funding, tools and resources to keep our students safe.”
“New Jersey is leading the way on school safety and it’s about time we expand school safety measures nationwide,” said Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9). “I am proud to cosponsor this bill named for Alyssa Alhadeff, whose life was tragically taken during the despicable Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. We can and must do better for our students today and for students tomorrow. Our future depends on it.”
Find the bill text here.