WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ (Bergen County) – U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) stood with the parents of Alyssa Alhadeff, who lost her life in the tragic 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Tuesday to announce the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Act (ALYSSA Act).
The ALYSSA Act is bipartisan federal legislation that will require silent panic alarms in all schools to immediately alert law enforcement of an active shooter situation. It will also increase investment in more well-trained School Resource Officers, to help protect students and faculty. Gottheimer announced that he will introduce the ALYSSA Act with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21).
The Alhadeff family lived in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, in the Fifth Congressional District, before moving to Parkland, Florida. Gottheimer and the Alhadeffs made today’s announcement on the soccer field at Woodcliff Lake Historic Park. Alyssa was an avid soccer player and was captain of her traveling team.
New Jersey signed legislation in Feb, 2019, championed by the Alhadeffs, into law that requires all New Jersey public schools to install silent panic alarms that can be activated in case of an active-shooter situation.
ALYSSA Act will bring that requirement to all 98,000 public schools nationwide, and will also cut federal red-tape to create specially-designated investment in bringing trained School Resource Officers to more schools.
“We are here today to honor Alyssa and turn her memory, and the pain her family and friends carry every day, into action. We are here to announce the ALYSSA Act – to help protect children, like Alyssa, and all 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 further protect our children. That is Lori and Ilan Alhadeff’s number one priority, and as a dad of a seven-year-old and ten-year-old, it is to me, too.”
“The senseless tragedies that led to the loss of Alyssa and too many of our loved ones painfully remind us that more must be done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students. Parents across the country should be able to send their kids to school knowing that every step is being taken to keep them safe, and it is incumbent on us to make this the legacy of those we’ve lost,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21). “Our bipartisan legislation will bring well-trained School Resources Officers to schools throughout our communities, while ensuring that life-saving alarm systems are a staple of every school’s prevention efforts. I am proud to work with my colleague Congressman Gottheimer to honor the life of Alyssa and protect our nation’s most precious asset, our children.”
“We would like to thank Congressman Gottheimer for pushing this life saving school safety measure,” said Lori and Ilan Alhadeff, parents of Alyssa Alhadeff. “We really appreciate the efforts here in New Jersey to keep our children safe in school and I am excited to continue to expand those protections to every student in the country.”
“The members of the Bergen County Education Association wholeheartedly thank the Congressman for taking the lead in Washington on an issue that is so critical to the safety of our students and our school employees,” said Bergen County Education Association President Sue McBride. “These silent alarms will assuredly save lives. We are proud to stand with him, offering our full support.”
Alyssa’s Legacy Youth
in Schools Safety Act (ALYSSA Act):
- This bill will bring the same requirements enshrined in New Jersey’s Alyssa’s Law to all public schools nationwide.
- There are more than 98,000 public schools in the United States and under this legislation all that receive federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) will be required to install silent alarms, which can average $1,000 per school.
- These silent alarms are utilized by schools in the case of an emergency such as a lockdown or active-shooter situation. When activated, the alarms remain silent in the building and alert local law enforcement to the emergency via a signal or message.
- Going a step further, this bill will also ensure every school has access to School Resource Officers (SROs).
- Currently, grants for SROs are available under the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. However, there is no guaranteed funding stream to bring SROs to every school nationwide.
- This legislation will cut federal red-tape to provide for specially-designated investment in bringing trained SROs to all schools, without having to meet additional complicated and changing standards from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).