As the nation's attention lurches from one mass shooting to the next – from a Pittsburgh synagogue to an California garlic festival to a Walmart in Texas to a busy sidewalk in Dayton – Lori Alhadeff stays focused on school safety.
Alhadeff, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, set up the Make Our Schools Safe nonprofit to lobby for laws requiring silent panic alarms in schools to alert police during active-shooter emergencies. In February, about a year after the Parkland killings, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed "Alyssa's Law" requiring silent alarms wired directly to police stations in all public elementary and secondary schools in his state.
Alhadeff spoke at Ipswich Country Club on Monday, where she was scheduled to speak at a golf tournament in memory of a police officer killed in the line of duty. She spoke about the massacres over the weekend in Texas and Ohio, which left 31 people dead.
Alhadeff said the country needs to take action, but she said her focus isn't on gun control but on getting Alyssa's Law adopted by more states. She said her daughter was shot 10 times with an AR-15 military style rifle, one of 17 people killed in the Parkland massacre. The gunman in Dayton killed nine people and wounded dozens of others in less than a minute with a similar weapon, she noted.
"These are weapons of war, of mass destruction, so we have to do something more than we're doing now. It's not enough," she said.
Quick notification from a school to local police could ensure prompt response by police to an active shooting situation, which is what Alyssa's Law is intended to do. While the country argues over what to do in the wake of the latest shootings, Lori Alhadeff and others affected by the murders in school buildings remain focused in one area where they hope they can help, public schools.
As Lori and her husband Ilan Alhadeff state on the makeourschoolssafe.org website, "Alyssa and the 16 other victims of this atrocity are the impetus for change. It is their spirits that give Make Schools Safe the strength to find ways to protect schools everywhere."