AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott publicly signed "Alyssa's Law," which requires public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to put silent panic alert buttons in each classroom.
The technology is designed to immediately notify first responders of a threat.
The law is named for Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old girl killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Alhadeff's parents and the lawmakers who wrote the bill – which passed unanimously in both the Texas House and Senate – joined Abbott for the public signing.
"Today, Texas has proven itself to be a nationwide leader in school safety," said Brent Cobb, CEO of CENTEGIX, which creates panic alert technology. "Thanks to leaders like Governor Abbott, Representative [Shawn] Thierry and Senator [Brandon] Creighton in supporting this important legislation, Texas students, teachers and parents can all rest a little easier."
Abbott officially signed Senate Bill 838 in early May, and it went into effect immediately.
According to CENTEGIX, versions of Alyssa's Law have already passed in New Jersey, Florida and New York, and similar legislation is being considered in several other states.
Last June, Texas lawmakers transferred $105.5 million into the state budget for school safety. Of that, $17.1 million will now be used to buy the panic buttons.