SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — The sound of ambulances flying to the scene of a school shooting has become an all too familiar sound for students and teachers across the country. Syracuse City Schools Director of Public Safety Thomas Ristoff says that securing schools can be a difficult process.
“There is no one magic solution for school safety. and it’s a really complex paradigm, we constantly reassess what we’re doing, because as soon as we do something, as you know, people figure out what we’re doing,” Ristoff said.
“So we have to go back and look to see is it working? And is it sustainable, is the other piece of it. And is it truly student friendly or community friendly?”
Numerous pieces of legislation have been written to try to ensure safety in American schools. One of these bills is Alyssa’s Law, named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a teenager who died in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The law can help speed up response times from first responders in school emergencies by requiring silent panic alarms in schools.
“The struggle is how it will be rolled out, what features are going to be required for a school system like ours, where we’ve got over 19,000 students in 32 school buildings,” Ristoff said.
“It presents some unique challenges, both with the level of technology that is going to be required.”
If Alyssa’s Law is signed by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, it will place silent panic alarms throughout New York state schools like Edward Smith Elementary. It will also be readily available on phones for easy access to students and teachers.
“So adding a silent panic button alarm, again, that’s along those lines of not ensuring chaos,” Ristoff said.
“But really making a silent notification, so I think it’s a step in the right direction.
Alyssa’s Law passed the New York State Assembly on June 3, and it now awaits Hochul’s signature.