Gov. Hochul signs Alyssa’s Law, outlines plans for education campaign on Red Flag Law

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Alyssa’s Law on Thursday, requiring schools to consider the use of silent panic alarm systems when conducting review and development of their school safety plans. She also outlined plans for a public education campaign surrounding New York’s newly expanded Red Flag Law.

In February 2019, Alyssa Alhadeff was killed in a mass shooting at the Marjorie Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida. Her mother and father, Lori and Ilan Alhadeff have established a foundation in her memory, and have advocated for the adoption of silent panic alarm systems in school buildings. These alarm systems can be useful in emergency situations—alerting all law enforcement to a school within moments.

The bill requires schools to consider their usefulness when developing district-level school safety plans, and authorize their inclusion within building-level safety plans. Gov. Hochul said this bill is an important step in making New York Schools safer.

"I am proud of the work we have done to pass a nation-leading bill package to crack down on the scourge of gun violence, but this is an ongoing fight and we cannot stop there," Governor Hochul said. "We will continue to take aggressive action until every child in New York is safe to pursue an education without the fear of senseless tragedy. That’s why I am proud to put pen to paper on Alyssa’s Law, a real and meaningful piece of legislation that will require school districts to evaluate systems that can save precious minutes – and lives – in the event of an active shooter situation."

The bill would ensure that there is no delay in all available law enforcement personnel responding. The systems themselves can cost just a few thousand dollars and can be implemented in classrooms as a smartphone app.

During Thursday’s bill signing event, Gov. Hochul also outlined plans to launch an intensive public education campaign surrounding New York State’s newly expanded Red Flag Law—with a specific focus on educators and mental health professionals.

This summer, the state will partner in providing a series of in-person and virtual trainings for school boards, superintendents, teachers, school-related professionals, principals, and parent-teacher associations. These trainings will clearly indicate how and when to complete the necessary paperwork to file an Extreme Risk Protection Order as well as address questions.

On May 18, 2022, Governor Hochul signed an Executive Order that requires State Police to file for an ERPO whenever they have probable cause to believe that an individual is a threat to themselves or others.

Additionally, state leaders will convene a series of roundtables, specifically for local and county law enforcement, where they will detail new policies and procedures required under the law and best practices for implementation. These roundtables will be led by State Police and the Municipal Police Training Council, which is housed within the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Trainings will also be developed for emergency call center professionals.

The State is also creating a comprehensive suite of digital and physical educational materials to be unveiled in the upcoming weeks and months. They include an overhauled Red Flag Law website with key information for educators and mental health professionals, public service announcements and social media content.

The expanded Red Flag Law goes into effect on Wednesday, July 6.