Heartbreaking Search for Avonte Oquendo Reaches 2-Week Mark

You’ve seen it on the news, you’ve heard about it on the radio, you’ve seen posters put up all over New York City. The search for 14 year old Avonte Oquendo has reached its 2-week mark. Autistic and non-verbal, this boy was last seen running out of his school two weeks ago today.

Police, family members, and the entire community are determined to find the whereabouts of Avonte. As he has a passion for trains, the police department has been searching all train stations, both abandoned and in use, in hopes of success. The search has now spread to surrounding areas of New York. Yesterday, police started using a van that can detect body heat through an infrared camera, in case Avonte was hiding. Police vans are also projecting his mother’s voice over a loud speaker asking him to come toward the vehicle and back home.

School safety among any school is important. School safety at a school for children with special needs…is crucial. Shema Kolainu has a strict list of procedures for teachers and staff to follow each day. Below are some of the daily procedures we follow:


  • Attendance is taken each morning by all teachers and teacher assistants and reported to their supervisor.
  • Staff to child ratios are maintained from the arrival of the first child at the start of the day to the departure of the last child at the end of the day
  • The primary duty of all staff is to actively monitor the safety and behavior of all students from the time they enter the school building until the time they go home.
  • When walking through a doorway with a student staff should always watch the student walk through the door completely before closing the door behind you.
  • Students are only released to authorized bus personnel or the student’s parent/guardian. If the student is to be dismissed to someone other than a parent or bus personnel, the school must have written consent prior to dismissal.