Utah Passes $100 Million School Safety Bill Supported by Parents of Parkland Shooting Victims

Lori Alhadeff, the mother of Alyssa Alhadeff, a student who tragically lost her life in her English class during the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, addressed a gathering of lawmakers and state officials on Wednesday.

Clutching a portrait of her daughter, Lori Alhadeff commended Utah as the sixth state to pass “Alyssa’s Law,” a measure mandating silent panic alarms in classrooms connected directly to law enforcement.

“We are making pivotal strides in safeguarding the well-being of our children,” Alhadeff expressed, underscoring the legislation as “our collective commitment to ensuring a secure learning environment for every child in Utah.”

Legislation Addressing School Shootings

The Utah Legislature of 2024 recently endorsed HB84, which Governor Spencer Cox signed into law on March 12. The broad school safety and security bill, as detailed in the report, encompasses “Alyssa’s Law” and establishes uniform safety standards for all Utah schools. It designates armed school staff as guardians, mandates reporting threats, and integrates the SafeUT Crisis Line with Utah’s intelligence database.

To facilitate HB84, the Utah Legislature allocated $100 million in one-time funds and $2.1 million for ongoing support.

In a symbolic gesture underscoring HB84 and seven associated bills aimed at benefitting Utah’s future generations, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson ceremonially approved the bills on Wednesday at the University of Utah’s Bennion Center.

Sponsoring HB84, Rep. Ryan Wilcox of Ogden emphasized the bill’s pivotal role in addressing the persistent issue of school shootings in the United States. He expressed that school shootings are a harsh reality that cannot be ignored and underscored the responsibility to prepare and alleviate the fears of catastrophic violence.

Wilcox extended gratitude to the parents of the Parkland shooting victims for their contribution to shaping Utah’s legislation, asserting the importance of ensuring that students focus on learning without worry of violence.

Standing in for Governor Spencer Cox due to a family emergency, Lieutenant Governor Henderson praised HB84 and other legislative efforts dedicated to enhancing opportunities for Utah’s youth and parents.

“We are a state that values families and prioritizes the well-being of our children, educators, and education system. This initiative demonstrates our commitment to the future,” Henderson affirmed.

Legislation Contributing to Future Generations 

Among the bills signed by Lieutenant Governor Henderson were:

  • SB205, allocating $1.5 million for instruction on child sexual abuse and human trafficking to address sexual abuse concerns.
  • HB75, permitting state employees to utilize parental leave for various purposes, including caring for children or incapacitated adults, and postpartum recovery leave.
  • HB105, utilizing $8.4 million to enhance funding for classroom supplies, benefiting elementary, middle, and high school teachers.
  • HB192, mandating school districts to establish paid leave policies for parental and postpartum recovery, ensuring adequate time off for various family situations.
  • HB221, dedicating $8.4 million to provide stipends for educators participating in full-time student teaching.
  • HB272, elevating legal standards in child custody cases to safeguard children from abusive parents, named “Om’s Law” in memory of a victim.
  • HB84, allocating funds for school safety and security, and SB206, directing funds to the “One Utah Service Fellowship Program” promoting community service among young adults.

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