Bills aiming to equip schools with silent panic alarms introduced to Michigan lawmakers

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 7:38 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A mother of a victim of the Parkland school shooting in Florida is looking to make a difference in Michigan. She is introducing a bill to Michigan’s legislature aiming to equip schools with silent panic alarms for emergencies.

If passed and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, House Bills 4241 and 4242 would become Alyssa’s Law—named after Alyssa Alhadef, one of the students who died in the Parkland shooting in 2018.

Alyssa’s mother, Lori, said her family is turning grief into action.

Lori and her husband founded Make Our Schools Safe after the shooting. They are dedicated to guiding the best practices in school safety.

Lori said she is working with state legislators across the country to bring Alyssa’s Law into practice. She testified for the passing in front of the Michigan House Education Committee earlier in September.

“I know that by telling my story and telling others what happened to Alyssa will help to pass Alyssa’s Law and also to help to save lives,” said Lori. “At the end of the day, in an emergency situation, we need to get help on the scene as quickly as possible.”

Alyssa’s Law has already been passed in five states—Florida, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Texas.

Michigan is on the way to joining them.

Representative Brenda Carter, D-Pontiac, sponsors the pair of bills. She said she’s been pushed into action by the shootings at Michigan State University and Oxford High School and wants to prioritize school safety in Michigan.

Lots of questions were asked from education committee members on Tuesday. Some were opting for on-campus resource officers. Carter said sometimes that’s not enough.

“Is there some type of way we might be able to discuss that the money can stay with the school, and they decide whether they get more technology and panic buttons or they get another security officer or something else?” said Representative Gina Johnsen, R-Lake Odessa.

“There were resources, people around, and there were sheriffs around, and there was a whole bunch of people around. The technology that’s being currently used was there, but still, 19 children and two teachers perished that day,” said Carter, remembering the shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 21 people. “So, what I’m saying is this is an additional tool and additional resource that may be able to help schools if they have an unforeseeable incident like that.”

Carter was also asked how the alarms would help schools in more rural areas.

She’s also looking into making the tool available for universities.

Carter testified she’d be willing to work with law enforcement to amend any changes to the bill that might help save more lives.

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