Chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding after section 97 the following section:-
Section 98. Equipping public elementary and secondary schools with panic alarms or emergency mechanisms
Section 1. (a) For the purpose of this section “panic alarm” shall mean a silent security system signal generated by the manual activation of a device intended to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation requiring a response from law enforcement.
(b) Except as otherwise provided pursuant to subsection e. of this section, each public elementary and secondary school building shall be equipped with at least one panic alarm for use in a school security emergency including, but not limited to, a non-fire evacuation, lockdown, or active shooter situation. The alarm shall be directly linked to local law enforcement authorities or, in the case of a school building located in a municipality in which there is no municipal police department, a location designated by the Superintendent of State Police, and shall immediately transmit a signal or message to such authorities upon activation. The alarm shall not be audible within the school building.
(c) Each panic alarm required under this section shall adhere to nationally recognized industry standards, including the standards of the National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories.
(d) Each panic alarm required under this section shall be installed solely by a person licensed to engage in the alarm business under sections 57, 58, and 59 chapter 147 of the general laws.
(e) A school district may equip its elementary and secondary school buildings with an emergency mechanism that is an alternative to a panic alarm if the mechanism is approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
(f) A school district that is in the process of building a school may be required to install a panic alarm system.
Section 2. Funding of panic alarms or emergency mechanisms.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority shall be responsible for funding the full cost of the panic alarms required in public elementary and secondary school buildings in any district pursuant to section 1 of section 98 or alternative emergency mechanisms approved by the department pursuant to that section. A school district that, prior to the effective date of this act, installed a panic alarm or alternative emergency mechanism approved by the department may receive reimbursement for those costs.
Section 3. Rules, regulations.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall promulgate rules and regulations to establish a program to effectuate the purposes of this act.
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