The search for missing autistic boy Avonte Oquendo came to a heartbreaking end in January, when his remains were found near Powell Cove Boulevard in Queens. A new report released yesterday by the agency in charge of investigating New York City's public schools shows several blunders in Avonte's care and supervision. The most serious -- the one that's likely to come up in the lawsuit she is pursuing against the city -- is that Avonte's mother, Vanessa Fontaine, warned his teacher at his Long Island City special education program that Avonte was likely to run. She requested one-on-one supervision for the boy, which the program at Riverview School, also known as P 277, did not provide. In addition, Avonte's teacher didn't inform school administrators that he was likely to try to leave the building.
|Image via Facebook |
|A missing person flyer made by Avonte's family. |
According to their report, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for New York City Schools (SCI), headed by Commissioner Richard J. Condon, got involved with Avonte's case on October 7, 2013, four days after he was reported missing, after the NYPD was already searching for the boy.
SCI investigators met with Principal Susan McNulty and Assistant Principal Angela Pomo, who told them that Riverview shares a campus with two other schools, a middle school and a high school, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film. They told SCI investigators that as soon as Avonte was noticed to be missing, at 12:45 p.m., they asked the high school principal, Edgar Rodriguez, who's in charge of the building, to put the entire building on "soft lockdown" so a better search could be conducted. Rodriguez refused, on the grounds that it would "alarm" his students. More »