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Alyssa's Law requires mobile alert systems in Oklahoma schools

Ilan Alhadeff, left, and Lori Alhadeff hold a picture of their daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, and a copy of an Oklahoma law created in her name. Alyssa's Law requires all schools in the state to implement a mobile panic alert system. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill in a ceremony on Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Photo by Nuria Martinez-Keel
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Oklahoma Voice
Ilan Alhadeff, left, and Lori Alhadeff hold a picture of their daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, and a copy of an Oklahoma law created in her name. Alyssa's Law requires all schools in the state to implement a mobile panic alert system. Gov. Kevin Stitt signed the bill in a ceremony on Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The memory of Alyssa Alhadeff will live on in Oklahoma law.

The 14 year old, whom her parents described as a “vivacious, energetic young lady,” was killed in a 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Her parents, Ilan and Lori Alhadeff, say they hope a new state law created in Alyssa’s name will help prevent future tragedies.

Gov. Kevin Stitt honored House Bill 4073, called “Alyssa’s Law,” in a ceremonial bill signing on Tuesday at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Alyssa’s Law requires all Oklahoma school districts to implement a mobile panic alert system to better transmit 911 calls and improve communication with first responders during an emergency.

Ilan and Lori Alhadeff traveled from Florida to attend the ceremony.

If the policy had been in place on the day of the Parkland shooting, “Alyssa would be with us today,” her father said.

“Carrying Alyssa’s law was critical for us because it really allows us to carry on her legacy,” Ilan Alhadeff said. “Her name should not go down in vain, and having Alyssa’s Law allows her name to be carried on and be spoken about time and time again.”

The alert system must provide floor plans, caller location and real-time updates to first responders during an emergency. It also must automatically alert designated school personnel of the emergency, either through a text message, phone call, smartphone application or another technology.

Oklahoma is the seventh state to enact the law. New Jersey was the first in 2019.

The Alhadeff family founded the nonprofit Make Our Schools Safe to bring Alyssa’s Law nationwide.

Lori Alhadeff said it creates a “standard level of school safety protection” and ensures widespread notification of an emergency.

“We’re hoping to continue across the country to pass this nationwide so that every parent can have the confidence to know that when they send their child to school that they will be safe and come home alive,” she said.

The Feb. 14, 2018, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 people, including 14 students, and wounded 17 others. The shooter has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

A review by the state of Florida found the law enforcement response to the shooting was “unsatisfactory” and was marred by flawed 911 and radio systems, along with poor notification within the school building that an active shooter emergency was taking place.

Four Broward County Sheriff’s Office deputies, including the school resource officer, were fired for failing to engage the shooter.

Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond, said he feels a “very personal connection” to the tragedy because he has family living in the Broward County school district. He said his niece and nephew were on the playground of their Parkland elementary school on the day of the shooting.

Pugh was one of the lawmakers who brought Alyssa’s Law to Oklahoma, along with Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, and Rep. Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston. He said it creates a uniform rule for schools while granting them flexibility to choose which mobile alert system they prefer.

It could be phone based, like an app, or a physical device installed in classrooms, he said.

Some Oklahoma schools have started adopting similar alert systems, such as the Rave Panic Button.

“The ultimate goal is to prevent (these incidents), but in the case where these events do happen, we need to be able to respond appropriately so that we minimize, if not completely neutralize, any sort of casualties or negative effects that these events would have on human life,” Pugh said after the bill signing.


Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Nuria Martinez-Keel covers education for Oklahoma Voice. She worked in newspapers for six years, more than four of which she spent at The Oklahoman covering education and courts. Nuria is an Oklahoma State University graduate.
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