TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A law passed in 2020 requires new safety equipment in Florida schools.
“Alyssa’s Law” is named after Alyssa Alhadeff who was one of the seventeen people killed during the 2018 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.
8 On Your Side reported in 2020 when the legislation passed and was signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The law requires all public and charter schools throughout the state to be outfitted with mobile panic alert systems by the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Chief of Security John Newman walked 8 On Your Side’s Beth Rousseau through their alert system — it’s already installed.
“Ours is a card, that’s all it is. You press the card a certain amount of time and it activates,” he described, “it tells you exactly where they’re at.”
According to Newman, the CENTEGIX crisis alert system can notify users of multiple threats.
“We have a lockdown, we have a lock-in, we have a lockout, we have severe weather, evacuation,” he said.
In Pinellas County Schools, it’s a different, hardwired device, with the same goal — getting security to your kids’ classroom as quickly as possible.
Chief Luke Williams explained, “It’s a force multiplier. Rather than just having one location where that button can be activated, now you have multiplied locations where if someone sees something that warrants action, they can activate the entire system.”
Both law enforcement veterans agreed, “Alyssa’s Law” is a game-changer for school security. Each said their district drills with the system once a month.
8 On Your Side reached out to other local school districts and received the following statements:
Sarasota County Schools: Our district has had our alert system – the Rave Panic Button app with Mutual Link – in place since spring 2020.
Pasco County Schools: We already have a system in place. It’s called Crisis Go.
Polk County Public Schools: The district does currently utilize a “silent panic button” as outlined in F.S.S. 1006.07. We are currently vetting the approved vendors from a list recently provided by the FDOE. We anticipate being in compliance with the statute as required beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.