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One year since disappearance, where does Alianna Alert bill stand?

Posted: 4:30 PM, Jan 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-01-26 23:06:16Z

It's been a year since 14-year-old Alianna Defreeze was killed senselessly and found in an abandoned home on the east side. 

Since her death, her family, lawmakers, and the City of Cleveland say they have worked to make sure what happened to her does not happen again.

 DeFreeze was on her way to school, she got off an RTA bus, never to be seen again

The citywide search followed for days.

A Cleveland police officer found her dead four days later .

The medical examiner's office told News 5 she had been beaten and stabbed. An identification had to be made through dental records. 

But those first few crucial search hours were wasted, delayed.

Alianna's family was not notified that she didn't make it to school until late in the afternoon when her mother called the school about a meeting. 

"Wasted time when a young lady was suffering while nobody knew she was missing," Senator Sandra Williams told News 5.

Senator Williams, of Cleveland, is behind Senate Bill 82, or the "Alianna Alert" bill — mandating all schools notify parents if their child doesn't show up. 

"Had the Alianna alert legislation been in place? The school district would have had to contact the parents and say hey your daughter isn't in school," she said, "The trace gets cold after a long time, that was over 8 hours before anyone knew she was missing."

But it's been nearly a year since her bill was officially introduced.

What's the holdup? 

According to Senator Williams, there has been some pushback.

"There have been organizations like the Ohio school board association and school districts who feel the requirement to call parents within 60 minutes is too much and too soon and they don't have the operations," she explained. 

News 5 checked in with the Ohio School Board Association, to see why the back and forth, they released this statement:

OSBA has worked with Sen. Williams to extend the timeline for notification to guarantee that districts are able to meet the requirements of the bill, while at the same time notifying parents quickly when their children are not in school.

Senator Williams told News 5 now she's working on an amended bill that will give schools 90 minutes and hopefully gain the associations support, even though she believes every minute counts.

In the meantime, the DeFreeze family has started "The Alianna DeFreeze Let's Make a Change Foundation" to help provide rides for kids who face challenges getting to school.

The city's Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative is working to demolish abandoned homes from Cleveland neighborhoods.

As for what you can do?

"People can call members of the Senate education committee and they can call the member of the house as well and ask them to support Senate Bill 82."