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Law Passes Requiring Audible Alarms On Doors Of Schools With Special Needs Programs

Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte Oquendo

Vanessa Fontaine was furious Thursday, March 27, at the findings of a new report on the events leading to the disappearance and subsequent death of her autistic teenage son, Avonte Oquendo (inset.) (Credit: CBS 2)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York City Council has unanimously approved a bill requiring 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 was last spotted on surveillance video leaving the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, Queens on Oct. 4. His body was found three months later along the East River in College Point.

In June, Avonte’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city in Queens Supreme Court. It accuses the city, the Department of Education, NYPD and numerous individuals of negligence for allowing the 14-year-old boy to leave the school.

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 bill will require the city Department of Education and the Police Department to submit a list of schools where alarms may be warranted.

Priority schools will include those serving students with severe disabilities

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the law will give parents peace of mind.

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