Over 1000 schools in NY to be equipped with door alarms under “Avonte’s Law “

avonte-oquendoposterNew York, NY – A new bill that will require over 1000 public schools throughout New York State to install door alarm systems in order to protect special needs students has been passed.

The legislation, named Avonte’s Law, was initially introduced by both city council member Robert Cornegy Jr. and Dany Dromm, a chair of the Education Committee who co-sponsored the bill over four months ago. Inspired by the tragedy of Avonte Oquendo, a New York teen with ASD who drowned after leaving his school unnoticed in October of 2013, the bill is intended to protect all students who are require direct adult supervision.

The bill was passed quickly with unanimous support from legislators following the release of a Department of Education (DOE) report which had undertaken a study in order to ascertain which of the state’s schools required an alarm system.

Thus last Thursday afternoon, stakeholders including Cornegy, Dromm, the Oquendo family and union members all congregated on the steps of City Hall to announce the news to the public and commiserate regarding the various obstacles they had faced in their effort to ensure the success of the bill. According to Darlene Boston, Bed-Stuy organizer for StudentFirst NY, implementation of the law was difficult despite the support it received. She asserts:

“What we heard at first was ‘this can’t be done’ it’s too complicated.”

However the piece of legislation was ultimately passed and with it, the development of a clear and effective system that will involve the use of protocols consisting of a collaboration between principals, professional development, training and the creation of an internal online reporting system.

Despite the measures however, Cornegy asserts that he believes the protocols should be what he refers to as a “last step measure.” The council member thus feels that although the new systems implemented under Avonte’s Law will be effective, he hopes that no student will ever be in the position to test its ability to protect them.

Source: The Brooklyn Reader Councilmember Cornegy’s ‘Avonte’s Law’ to Result in 21,000 Door Alarms in NYC Public Schools by Year’s End