Avonte Oquendo case raises fears for NYC parents

November 1, 2013 By Karen Matthews Associated Press
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Parents of New York City’s special-education students saw their worst nightmares realized four weeks ago when 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo (ah-VAHN’-tay oh-KEHN’-doh) walked out of his school and disappeared.

Police and volunteers are still scouring the city for Avonte, who is autistic.

Meanwhile, some parents and advocates are questioning whether the city’s sprawling public school system is equipped to handle high-needs students like the missing boy.

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Lisa Quinones-Fontanez is the mother of a 7-year-old autistic boy. She says Avonte’s situation has really hit home because “it could be any of our kids.”

Avonte’s family has initiated legal action against the city over his disappearance.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says he has ordered his staff to examine the procedures that are in place to prevent something like this from ever happening again.


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