Legal Brief: Alyssa’s Law and its Impact on Integrators

September 7, 2023
Security Business Magazine

Types : Bylined Articles

State and federal legislation intended to mandate panic alarms in elementary and secondary schools is gaining momentum across the country

I am not a Democrat. I am not a Republican. I am an American and a veteran. I celebrate my country’s successes, and I am critical of its failures. There are many wonderful aspects of American life. Our obsession with guns is not among them – particularly when it comes to protecting our children and maintaining safe schools.

Since 2020, the number-one cause of death for kids in America is guns. In 2022, there were 46 school shootings – more than in any year since the horrific Columbine school shooting in 1999. America’s death rate from gun violence is 4.12 per 100,000 people. Japan’s death rate from gun violence is 0.02 per 100,000 people. Every other industrialized nation has a sharply better rate than does America. This should concern us all.

This is not a commentary on the second amendment and whether people should be entitled to have guns for personal protection and/or hunting. Instead, I mention America’s gun violence epidemic here to lay a foundation for a discussion of a bold legislative initiative launched out of grief and intended to protect children in schools.

In 2018, a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Fla., saw a former student kill 17 people. These incidents happen far too often in America. Teachers are increasingly expected to transition in an instant from educators to first responders, and children are expected to fend for themselves.

One of the victims of the Parkland tragedy was 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff. There was so much more we, as a country, could have done to protect her and the other victims of the Parkland tragedy and other school shootings. Some favor arming teachers. Others favor hardening schools. Some want more mental health counseling. Some want to reduce the number of guns. Some want to do nothing, and unfortunately, those who want to do nothing – a minority of people in the country – seem to be winning.

Thankfully, Alyssa Alhadeff’s family does not want to do nothing. They have channeled their grief into action. Alyssa’s mother, Lori Alhadeff, founded a nonprofit organization, Make Our Schools Safe, an organization aimed at providing safety features tailored to the specific needs of schools. Their efforts have yielded what is commonly called “Alyssa’s Law.”