Montgomery Schools to Get $267,839 for Panic Alarms
February 17, 2022
Montgomery Township will receive state funds to install silent “panic alarms” in school buildings that would alert police in the event of an active-shooter incident or other emergency. The silent alarms are in response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
New Jersey had passed “Alyssa’s Law” in 2019 in memory of Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old New Jersey native who was among the 17 people killed at the school. The law requires every public elementary and secondary school building to be equipped with at least one panic alarm or approved alternative that can alert first responders in the event of an emergency.
Gov Phil Murphy signed a related bill into law in January intended to help school districts pay for the mandate. It appropriates $5 million from the state’s “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” for the alarms.
The bill was sponsored Montgomery’s LD-16 Assemblyman Roy Freiman. It provides grants to 60 school districts for these school security projects. The new law does not specify the exact type of panic-alarm system that is required.
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The NJ Schools Development Authority (SDA) is tasked with adopting specifications for what type of alarm systems schools will need to install. The SDA is the state agency responsible for fully funding and managing the new construction, modernization and renovation of school facilities projects in 31 school districts known as the SDA Districts.
New Jersey is the first state to pass Alyssa’s Law, requiring schools to implement instant panic buttons that are directly linked to local law enforcement. According to prepared statement from NJ Assembly Democrats: “Equipping our schools with panic alarms will help first responders come to the aid of students and staff more quickly in the event of an emergency. It’s sad that measures such as this are necessary. However, in these troubling times this is a prudent action to protect the well-being of our children.”