A proposed bill to install panic alarms and red emergency lights in New Jersey schools honors former Woodcliff Lake teen Alyssa Alhadeff who died in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.
The bill (A-764) was passed Monday by the Assembly Education Committee in Trenton.
"Alyssa's Law" requires all public elementary and secondary schools be equipped with a panic alarm for use in a school security emergencies including evacuations, lockdowns or active shooter situations.
The alarm would be an addition to existing security systems.
A group of Assembly democrats including Valerie Vainieri Huttle (Bergen) and Shavonda Sumter (Bergen-Passaic) sponsored the bill.
“In an emergency, every minute counts," Vainieri Huttle said. "It is particularly crucial when children are involved.
"Too many schools have been targeted and too many innocent people have paid the price. Beefing up school security to better protect our children is a necessity.”
The alarm, which would not be audible within the school building, must be directly linked to local law enforcement and immediately transmit a signal or message to the authorities upon activation.
In the case of a school building located in a municipality where there is no police department, the panic alarm would be linked to a location designated by the Superintendent of State Police.
“Boosting security measures with a silent alarm that would notify law enforcement as soon as it is activated could help reduce the potential for greater harm in an emergency,” Sumpter said.
“Any measure that can help lessen this risk is an investment worth making.”
The bill also requires that a red emergency light be affixed to the exterior of all public elementary and secondary school buildings in a highly visible location above or near the front entrance. In the case of a school building that is not clearly visible from the nearest public roadway; the emergency light would be located on that public roadway. The light would be linked to the school’s panic alarm so that it turns on when the alarm is activated.
The proceeds of bonds authorized to be issued to fund the state share of the costs of Schools Development Authority district school facilities projects, or the state share of the costs of school facilities projects in all other districts.
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