(August 7, 2014) – New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio today signed “Avonte’s Law,” which requires the city’s Department of Education and police to evaluate which school doors should be alarmed to help prevent wandering incidents by students. The law is named for Avonte Oquendo, the Queens teenager with autism who died after wandering from his school last October. The city council passed the bill 49-0 in a vote last month. The new law gives priority to adding alarms at the city’s elementary schools, which serve students from Pre-K to 5th grade, and to schools which serve students with special needs.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced a federal bill, also known as “Avonte’s Law,” which would authorize funding for voluntary locating devices that could be worn by children with autism, along with other steps to address wandering. Schumer discussed the bill at a news conference last month with representatives from Autism Speaks, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and NYPD. Read more and watch video here.