The story of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy who tragically drowned after wandering away undetected from his Queens public school in 2013, prompted an outpouring of support for protections to better ensure the safety children and adults with special needs.
Thanks to the many efforts of advocates and lawmakers, Avonte’s story has had a lasting impact, including:
- Avonte’s law, a measure signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in August 2014. Avonte’s Law helped implement critical precautionary measures to prevent students with autism and other developmental disabilities in NYC from wandering away from safety; and
- Kevin and Avonte’s Law, federal legislation passed in March 2018 to provide resources for programs that prevent wandering and locate missing individuals with various disabilities.
As the legal team for Avonte’s family and advocates for the passing of these important bills, The Perecman Law Firm is thankful for all the support that helped Avonte’s story inspire positive and desperately needed change.
As Attorney David Perecman notes, the sixth anniversary of Avonte’s law offers us an opportunity to reflect on how far our City and our nation have come, as well as a reminder about what is still needed to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. has been a proud supporter of Avonte’s family and Avonte’s Law. In addition to important legislation, Avonte’s legacy lives on in our firm’s annual Avonte Oquendo Memorial Scholarship, which benefits students with autism and those with autistic family members.