The family of Avonte Oquendo, Attorney David Perecman, and others came out this past Saturday for the March for Safety. It has been two years since the autistic teen went missing from school and was never seen alive again.
On October 10, many flocked to the area near The Riverview School where Avonte Oquendo went missing about two years ago to participate in a March for Safety. Participants hoped the march would commemorate Avonte’s life, push the city to continue taking necessary safety measures to prevent another incident like this, and to support Senator Chuck Schumer in his efforts to get Avonte’s Law passed at the federal level.
Avonte’s Law was introduced to the Senate in January 2014 as a response to the tragic death of Avonte Oquendo. Advocates of the measure say the law would help prevent similar tragedies in the future. The law contains a provision for a tracking program, which is modeled after the current federal program that monitors individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If this bill becomes law, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and similar developmental disorders would be eligible for the tracking program.
It is not uncommon for those living with autism and similar conditions to wander away or “bolt” from their caretakers. This is because, often, autistic individuals look for an escape from sources of overstimulation. Avonte wandered away from his school on October 4, 2013 through an unlocked door and was found deceased three months later. Attorney David Perecman and many others are lobbying for better monitoring systems (such as door alarms) and better training for school employees so that special needs children receive better supervision.
Attorney David Perecman, who is representing Avonte’s family, commented that “It’s a failing on our society and its institutions if we can’t protect children like Avonte.”
Perecman and Avonte’s family continue to await a trial date in their wrongful death case against the city.
Visit the links below to learn more about Avonte’s case: