Avonte Oquendo’s Mother Speaks Out

What would you do if your non-verbal autistic 14-year-old child went missing after running away from school? That’s what happened to Jessica Fontaine, mother of Avonte Oquendo. The search for Avonte has entered its third week, and Fontaine just wants her little boy back. She spoke out on WLNY, pleading for the return of her son.


“If someone has my son, please be kind to him and let him go. Put him in a public place full of people and let him go. Walk away.” [i]


The entire community is dedicated to finding Avonte. Search groups continue to look each day for the teenager, and Fontaine wants her son to know that she loves him, “Mommy loves you, the family is here for you, and we’re going to find you.”


We’ve been providing information on daily procedures to take regarding children with special needs. Most schools go on off-site field trips with their students, and below are some procedures to follow:


  • Staff will be made familiar with the destination location prior event/trip occurrence
  • Parental approval is recorded in writing on signed permission slips for their child to participate in the event/trip
  • Supervision ratios are increased by assigning auxiliary staff or the use of volunteers that are cleared
  • The accountability procedures are as follows:
    • Attendance taken prior to start of activity or leaving child service
    • Periodic monitoring and re-taking attendance
    • Trip attendance log
    • Buddy system
    • Assignment of small groups of children to specific staff/volunteer supervisors
    • Child identifiers (name tags and t-shirts)
    • Areas of refuse/regrouping established beforehand

[i] “CBS News” Avonte Oquendo’s mother: If you have my son, let him go. 21 Oct 2013. Web. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57608516/avonte-oquendos-mother-if-you-have-my-son-let-him-go/>