Jumpstarting School Safety Plans with Alyssa’s Law

Alyssa’s Law (S.7132B/A.10018), is legislation, proposed and implemented in multiple states, that requires schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans. This law was created by Lori and Ilan Alhadeff after the death of their 14 year old daughter, Alyssa, in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. As a way to help prevent other similar events, Alyssa’s parents have encouraged states to pass this legislation. Florida and New Jersey have already passed Alyssa’s Law, and most recently, the governor of New York signed the bill to encourage schools to reevaluate their safety plans. 

Recently, there has been an increase in violence across the country. The recent shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde was the 27th school shooting in 2022 in the U.S. As violence continues to rise, we must do everything we can to address it. Technology, such as the panic alarm systems required by Alyssa’s law, has made significant advances and is an incredible tool for helping to avoid injury and death. Although technology is only part of the equation when it comes to preventing and responding to school shootings, it is important that it is not overlooked, especially for district officials, as the implementation of technology is one of the few things that they have direct control over, unlike legislation and police response. 

Providing schools with panic alarm capabilities is just one of the ways that safety and security can be increased. At Status Solutions, we believe in the importance of situational awareness, which is the ability to know what is happening around you at all times. This is why, over 20 year ago, we created SARA, the Situational Awareness Response Assistant. SARA is a platform that can integrate all of a school’s current safety and security technology systems, allowing them to work together. For example, with SARA, a school can connect their security cameras, fire/smoke panel, door sensors, PA system, etc. When any of these systems are triggered, SARA will automatically notify the correct individual(s) with a detailed alert. This automatic alerting allows for staff members to make informed decisions during emergency or non-emergency situations.

SARA is a great way for schools to implement a more robust and customizable panic alarm system. With SARA, teachers can initiate a lockdown via their desktop, phone, fixed duress, or mobile duress button, depending on their school’s needs. When a staff member activates SARA’s panic button, alerts will be sent out to any endpoints that the district officials pre-set. For instance, all staff can be sent text, voice call, and monitor pop-up alerts, to inform them a lockdown has been initiated. SARA would also trigger any physical alarms throughout the school and can even send out an automated announcement on the PA system. The police can be notified automatically as well. Many districts work with their local police department so they can receive alerts containing detailed information such as when and where the panic button was triggered. For example, it is much more helpful to know what specific teacher or classroom initiated the lockdown, so police can respond more quickly.

The implementation of Alyssa’s Law provides some guidance as a starting point on safety measures, but you don’t have to wait on legislation to start improving your school’s technology infrastructure. Summer is a great time for schools to reevaluate their safety plans, so don’t hesitate to ask for a free assessment of your school. We’re here to help.

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