The safety of school students, teachers, and staff is top of mind for many individuals. Alyssa's Law requirements are making it easier for help to respond in the event of an emergency. The bill was signed into legislation and named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and sets forth panic alarm requirements for all public and charter schools in the state of Florida. Additionally, many other states are now following suit and implementing similar laws, including New Jersey, New York, Nebraska, and more. As the legislation gains popularity, it will likely continue to gain hold in more states, making it crucial for school boards and administrators to find compliant solutions.
What Are Alyssa's Law Requirements?
Alyssa's Law recognizes that in the event of an emergency, response time matters. In fact, it can mean the difference between life and death. The legislation seeks to improve the amount of time it takes law enforcement, EMS teams, and the fire department to respond to life-threatening events by implementing a set of standards to which all schools must adhere.
Alyssa's Law requirements in the state of Florida include:
- All school's must have at least one silent panic button or alarm on campus (the alarm or signal cannot be audible inside the school building).
- These alarms must connect directly and instantly to law enforcement or emergency services dispatch upon manual activation.
- In the state of Florida, these panic buttons must be mobile, meaning individuals can transport the alarm systems with them (for example, an emergency reporting app such as SaferWatch).
According to state law, a "panic alarm or button" is a device or mechanism that requires manual activation for the sole purpose of communicating the event of a life-threatening situation or emergency to dispatch and law enforcement services.
Who Is Required to become Alyssa's Law Compliant?
Each state that signs into law a version of this legislation sets forth its own stipulations regarding not just Alyssa's Law requirements, but also guidelines that state which educational bodies must be compliant.
In the state of Florida, the following institutions must be Alyssa's Law compliant:
- All public schools, including elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools.
- All buildings on any public school campus must remain compliant, with their own panic button or silent alarm system.
- Buildings on a public school campus that qualify include any structure where students receive education and instruction or are present, during a normal school day.
Charter Schools in Florida
While many individuals are familiar with public schools, there may be questions regarding what constitutes a charter school in the state. In the state of Florida, a charter school operates under a performance contract between the school's governing board and the sponsor for a specified period of time. Admission to a charter school is by application only, and while charter schools are generally open to all potential students within a district, they may provide preference to specified groups or demographics.
Alyssa's Law requirements in Florida state that any charter school, regardless of age range or organization, must adhere to the same stipulations as traditional public schools.
How Does a School District Meet Alyssa's Law Requirements?
State governor Ron DeSantis signed Alyssa's Law into effect for the state of Florida in July 2020. All public and charter schools in the state must meet Alyssa's Law requirements by the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. This means that administrators and school boards are working diligently now to ensure that this happens.
The best way to meet Alyssa's Law requirements in the state is to install a comprehensive, integrated security solution system that provides access to all imperative staff and administrators.
SaferWatch and Motorola Solutions
The Florida Department of Education has announced that the Motorola Solutions and SaferWatch partnership is now a preferred provider of mobile panic alarm systems for all K-12 schools in the state. Currently implemented in Broward County, Florida, the technology provides more than 440 schools with services and coverage, as well as full compliance with all Alyssa's Law criteria and guidelines.
The SaferWatch mobile app is the premier solution to meet all Alyssa's Law requirements in the state of Florida, and the integrated system goes above and beyond the basic stipulations of the law. With the SafterWatch mobile app and Motorola Solutions, users can report an emergency with a digital panic button directly from the phone application.
Not only does the SaferWatch mobile app immediately connect to emergency dispatch services with a user's location and GPS coordinates, but it will also provide the ability to two-way message a dispatcher in real-time while simultaneously connecting emergency services to the school building's security camera feed. Additionally, when a user activates the silent panic button in the app, a message is immediately sent to a pre-designated list of emergency contacts and administrators so that everyone remains in the loop.