Lori Alhadeff

Alyssa’s Law, Requiring Panic Alarms In Schools, Heads To Governor’s Desk

Mar 11, 2020
Bobby Caina Calvan / AP

A bill named after a 14-year-old girl killed in the Parkland massacre that will require panic alarms in the state’s schools is heading to the governor’s desk.

The Florida Senate gave final approval Tuesday night to Alyssa’s Law as her mother Lori Alhadeff watched from the gallery.

Alhadeff said she made eight trips to Tallahassee to advocate for the legislation, which was sponsored by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, and Reps. Michael Gottlieb, D-Davie, and Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Lori Alhadeff picked up a mallet and banged a small, colorful drum. At one point, she closed her eyes to feel the rhythm of the others in the small circle, who were also improvising with percussion instruments.

Alhadeff, who lost her daughter, Alyssa, two years ago in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, joined in during the music therapy activity at Pine Trails Park in Parkland Friday afternoon. 

courtesy of Lori Alhadeff

Legislation named in honor of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, who was one of 17 people who died in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School, would require silent panic alarms in every public school building in Florida to alert police and rescuers to emergencies.

“We need to create layers and layers of protection to help keep our schools safe,” said Lori Alhadeff, Alyssa’s mother. “Alyssa’s Law, these silent panic alarms, is another layer of protection to help save lives.”

Wilfredo Lee / AP

The widow of a slain athletic director is running for the Broward School Board, becoming the third family member of a Parkland victim in the past year to seek the political office.

Debbi Hixon, a 31-year educator whose husband, Chris Hixon, was murdered during last year’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, has filed to run in the August 2020 race. She’s the highest profile in a crowded field of candidates hoping to replace longtime School Board member Robin Bartleman, who is stepping down to run for a seat on the state Legislature.

Before Lori Alhadeff ran for a seat on her local school board, she had no experience in politics. She didn't even consider herself a "political person," she says.

That changed when her daughter, Alyssa Alhadeff, died in the Parkland school shooting. In February, a former student killed 14-year-old Alyssa and 16 other people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

Broward County school board races are usually niche affairs as passionate advocates futilely implore an indifferent public to care, even a decade ago when the nation's sixth-largest district was rocked by bribery and construction scandals.

But February's massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School changed that as the parents of two victims and close friends of two others are vying for seats in Tuesday's election, pitting victims' families against incumbents and the teachers union and bringing out accusations of incompetence, lying, bigotry, and polling place harassment.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

The mother of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior and two recent graduates announced on Friday her plans to run for the Broward County school board, the third parent inspired to try to make schools safer after the Feb. 14 shooting that took 17 lives.

Tenille Decoste joins the race for school board district 4, where she will run against Lori Alhadeff, whose daughter, Alyssa, was killed in the shooting. Ryan Petty, who lost his daughter, Alaina, is running for an at-large seat.