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City Council To Vote On Audible Alarms Bill Dubbed ‘Avonte’s Law’

A missing person poster for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo. (Photo: CBS 2)

A missing person poster for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo. (Photo: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The New York City Council is set to vote on a bill that would require audible alarms on doors in schools with special needs programs.

The bill, known as Avonte’s Law, was inspired by the disappearance of Avonte Oquendo. The 14-year-old autistic boy from Queens walked out of his school in Long Island City last October. His body was found three months later along the East River in College Point.

The City Council’s Education Committee approved the bill 10-0 Wednesday with five members absent. The full council is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.

Avonte was described as severely autistic and unable to speak. Parent activists pushed for the bill requiring audible alarms after Avonte’s disappearance prompted a massive search.

The alarms would help prevent students from leaving school buildings unattended.

The bill would require city Department of Education and the police department to submit a list of schools where alarms may be warranted.

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina has said the Department of Education is open to the idea, but had concerns about the cost. Installing audible alarms could run an estimated $1.5 million. The alarms are estimated to cost between $125 and $160 each.

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