A bipartisan school safety legislation package introduced last week by U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Tony Gonzales (R-TX) would require that silent panic alarms be installed in America’s schools and that more federal dollars be invested in School Resource Officers (SROs).
“We owe it to our students, educators, and school communities to prioritize their safety,” Rep. Fitzpatrick said. “Our bipartisan package will require the implementation of silent alarms in schools and increase funding for SROs, allowing law enforcement to be notified and to respond at a quicker rate in the event of an active shooter situation.”
Rep. Fitzpatrick and Rep. Gonzales signed on as original cosponsors of both the Strengthening Our Schools (SOS) Act of 2023, H.R. 5000, and the Alyssa’s Legacy Youth in School Safety Alert (ALYSSA) Act of 2023, H.R. 4999.
The bills are sponsored by U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and were announced last week during a press conference held with the parents of the Parkland school shooting victims — Lori Alhadeff, Max Schachter, and Tony Montalto, whose 14-year-old children Alyssa Alhadeff, Alex Schachter, and Gina Montalto were killed in 2018 during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
“As a father of a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old, I cannot even begin to fathom the pain you’ve endured. But, you’ve never given up. And I can promise you none of us here today will ever give up in our fight for you, the memories of your children, and for the children across our nation,” said Rep. Gottheimer. “We are here today to honor Alyssa, Alex, and Gina and turn their memory — and the pain their family and friends carry every day — into action.”
If enacted, H.R. 5000 would amend the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to provide increased funding for SROs. H.R. 5000 would authorize nearly $1.1 billion for each of fiscal years 2024 through 2033, an increase over the $1.05 billion now authorized for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2009, according to the text of the bill.
H.R. 4999 would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require that at least one silent alarm be installed in all elementary and secondary schools.
“Both [of these bills] will implement common-sense changes to protect students in classrooms across the nation,” Rep. Gonzales said. “School Resource Officers prevent and respond to situations of violence in schools, the SOS Act will put more of these individuals on school grounds.”
Rep. Gonzales added that Texas already has passed state legislation to require silent panic alarms in all schools. “The ALYSSA Act would ensure educators and students in every state have these life-saving tools in their classrooms,” he said.
Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools, Make Our Schools Safe, and Safe Schools for Alex support the bills.
“I am proud to stand with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in introducing these substantive, commonsense solutions to ensure our schools are more secure,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick.
Among the members who joined Reps. Fitzpatrick and Gonzales as original cosponsors of both bills are U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Don Bacon (R-NE).