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Alyssa’s Law: How will New York schools implement panic buttons? (video)

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  • Megan Hatch 

As the school safety movement spreads across the nation, New York State is taking steps to install panic buttons in schools.

Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed Alyssa’s Law, which will require all NYS schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when reviewing or developing a more stricter school safety plan.

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Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

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Lori Alhadeff is the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the students killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018.

After the death of her daughter, Alhadeff and her husband Dr. Ilan Alhadeff founded Make Our Schools Safe, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting students and teachers in schools.

Alhadeff started a movement with Alyssa’s Law, the goal being to make schools safer all across the nation by implementing a panic button.

“A panic button is an app on a teacher’s phone. So basically, they can push the button whether it’s a fire, medical emergency, or a Police Emergency. Once that panic button is pushed, it then is directly linked to law enforcement, a 911 center, 200 people being notified all within seconds,” said Alhadeff.

“It’s extremely easy and only takes a few minutes to install an app on your phone. They also have different other types of panic buttons, like a badge, you can wear around your neck, or a hardwired button.”

Alyssa’s Law awaiting Governor Hochul’s signature

How can schools implement the panic buttons?

“A number of our school district clients are already working with and collaborating with their insurance carriers,” said Sara Visingard, partner at Harris Beach PLLC Attorneys at Law and past president of the New York State Association of School Attorneys.

“There are two out our way in New York state, there are two insurance carriers Utica National Insurance and New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR). Both of those insurance companies have partnered with vendors who have various products and apps available. So they’re working with the insurance carriers and with these vendors to figure out which app they would like to use and they’re able to get the applications at a discounted price.”

There’s also the option to obtain the panic button applications through a cooperative services agreement through BOCES.

“That allows the districts to obtain the application using the cooperative services agreement at a discounted price and also to receive state aid,” said Visingard.

“I think it’s important for them to vet out different companies to make sure that they’re choosing a company that best fits the needs of their school district. It’s a vital piece of school security protection because, in a life-threatening emergency, there’s mass notification all within seconds. So law enforcement knows exactly where to go,” said Alhadeff

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