NEW YORK, Oct. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Avonte Oquendo went missing on October 4, 2013, after security footage showed him wandering out an unlocked door of The Riverview School. Avonte was autistic, and often individuals with autism will wander, "elope" or bolt away from places and situations. Tragically, Avonte was never seen alive again.
"It's a failing on our society and its institutions if we can't protect children like Avonte," said Attorney David Perecman, who is representing Avonte's family in the fight for justice and to ensure that something like this never happens again.
Because of Avonte's Law, passed by the New York City Council in July 2014, about 1,400 area schools are supposed to get alarms on their doors by this December. These alarms would sound to indicate doors opening during school hours, which could prevent children from wandering away unsupervised. Security video footage showed Avonte running out an unalarmed door that had been left ajar.
So how many schools actually have the alarms installed? According to the company responsible for installing the alarms, out of the 1,400 schools, 18,254 alarms have been installed since April, leaving 2,300 remaining.
The Department of Education also says it is working on better training for teachers and school staff on how to work with special needs students.
Perecman says, "I want to see what the training consists of before I am satisfied. Nobody involved was disciplined as far as we know. There was absolutely nothing that took place, and that is not an acceptance of responsibility."
Avonte's family is still awaiting a trial date.
On Saturday, October 10, Avonte's family, their attorney, and many others revisited The Riverview School to march in memory of Avonte. The family continues to hang onto the hope that some good can come out of this tragedy, change that will prevent this type of thing from ever happening again.
Those who participated in the Walk for Safety to commemorate Avonte said they hoped the walk would not only remind people of the needless loss of a young life, but also prompt the city to continue installing the remaining door alarms and implement other necessary safety plans to mitigate a repeat of what happened to Avonte.
Senator Chuck Schumer is also lobbying to get a different Avonte's Law passed at the federal level that will provide funding for GPS devices and tracking. Attorney David Perecman expressed his hope that the march would bring awareness to Senator Schumer's efforts.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is a New York City based law firm that handles all types of serious injury and wrongful death cases for victims. It has been rated one of the "Best Law Firms" by U.S. News. To learn more about the firm, Attorney David Perecman, or Avonte's case, visit http://www.perecman.com/.
SOURCE Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C.