TCNJ Magazine Fall 2019

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24 The College of New Jersey Magazine getting all schools to install panic buttons that would alert the authorities to a threat on campus. We're empowering students to be the voices for school safety and to create a culture of safety in their schools. We try to encourage them; we say, "Your voice is your power." We protect our banks, our government offices. Why aren't we protecting our students? We had school shootings before. We had Sandy Hook, Columbine. Everybody thought this would never happen to us. We thought that too. here were about 400 people at Alyssa's funeral. We put pictures of my sons and myself and my husband into the casket. And then her pink teddy bear. That morning, in the night table next to my bed, I found this little piece of paper, the size of a thumbnail, that Alyssa had gotten at her bat mitzvah on top of Masada in Israel the year before. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signs Alyssa's Law in February 2019, with Ilan and Lori Alhadeff to the right. The rabbi had written her Hebrew name — Hannah — on this piece of paper. I put it in the coffin. When we buried Alyssa, I was the last one to touch the casket as it was being lowered into the ground. It was lowered until I couldn't touch it anymore. We sat Shiva for Alyssa for 10 days. Hundreds and hundreds of people came. So many people told me, "We want change." I realized that I needed to be the one to make sure that change happens. So within three weeks of the shooting, my husband and I started a nonprofit organization called Make Our Schools Safe. Our primary objective is to make schools safe for all kids in all schools. We are working toward T She was very determined. She was captain of her Parkland Soccer Club team. She was the smallest one on the team, but she had the biggest voice. On her high school team, she was brought up to varsity as a freshman. She was thrilled. efore the shooting, I was a very introverted person and very quiet. After the tragedy, I became the complete opposite. Now I'm in the spotlight and opening my mouth, and using my voice for change. I'm trying to be a leader and set an example for others. I want to make sure Alyssa's two brothers are safe when they go to school. I don't want Alyssa's death to be in vain. In the summer of 2018, I decided to run for a seat on the Broward County School Board. I want to honor Alyssa by speaking up and making these changes. So I ran, and I won. The Broward school district is the second largest in Florida and the sixth largest in the country. The school board is considered a part-time position, but it's full time B

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