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School panic alarms may come to Pennsylvania

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(The Center Square) – Silent panic alarms may become the next line of defense for schools in Pennsylvania.

A bipartisan plan introduced in the Senate on Monday would mandate installing devices in buildings to speed up law enforcement response during an emergency. Five other states have implemented similar legislation, dubbed “Alyssa’s Law.”

The bill is named after Alyssa Alhadeff, one of 17 victims of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018.

Broward County Deputy Scot Peterson, the school’s armed resource officer, was caught on tape standing outside of the building for over 40 minutes while the gunman attacked students and faculty. He was acquitted of criminal charges for his inaction in June.

“Today, we are one step closer to America’s students being more likely to come home at the end of the day,” said Lori Alhadeff, Alyssa’s mother and co-founder of Make Our Schools Safe. “Pennsylvania is proving itself to be a leader in school safety through this legislation. Had my daughter’s school had panic alarms in the classroom, Alyssa might still be here today.”

Sen. Art Haywood, D-Philadelphia, and Tracy Pennycuick, R-Red Hill, issued a statement Monday hoping for swift passage of the legislation.

“This legislation is a critical step toward ensuring the safety of the commonwealth’s students,” Haywood said. “Installing panic buttons in schools allows for direct connection to local law enforcement, in turn allowing police to respond faster in the event of an emergency.”

“When a dangerous incident occurs on school grounds, the most rapid response possible can save lives,” Pennycuick said. “We owe it to our children and teachers to use every method available to give them the best chance to get through these emergencies unharmed.”

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