2015-11-18 / Front Page

School Doors Alarmed Under Avonte’s Law

By Liz Goff
In response to the death of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo and several other incidents involving students who disappeared from city schools, the City Council last year passed “Avonte’s Law,” a measure that requires the city Department of Education to survey all city public schools to evaluate the need for additional safety measures, including the installation of alarms on all doors at public school buildings.

DOE officials last week said more than 21,000 alarms have been installed at 1,200 city school buildings to prevent children from wandering off.

DOE officials installed the alarms at a cost of $5.5 million under Avonte’s Law, to prevent another tragedy like Avonte Oquendo, who slipped through an open door at his Long Island City school in October 2013 and was never seen alive again.

The autistic teenagers body was found three months later on a rocky shoreline in eastern Queens.

School officials said 97 per cent of schools surveyed requested the door alarms. Schools that turned down the alarms either already had them in place or are located in buildings with advanced security systems.

State Sen. Charles Schumer last month that he would continue to press state lawmakers to pass his version of Avonte’s Law, which includes a call for federal funding fpr development and production of tracking devices for children with developmental disabilities.

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