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It's meant to help find a child when he/she wanders off

Having a child wander off into harm's way is a parent's worst fear, but it's often a reality for some parents of autistic children. A New York senator is hoping to at least eliminate the "harm's way" part with new GPS tracking devices.
According to ABC Local News, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has proposed "Avonte's Law," which would place tracking devices on children with autism who have a tendency to wander off. 
The law is named after Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from New York who was recently found dead along the banks of the East River after wandering away from a supervised facility.
Sen. Schumer said a tracking device could prevent such tragedies from happening. In fact, Experts in the ABC report said such gadgets could reduce the amount of time it takes to find a lost child by about 95 percent. 

[SOURCE: CBS New York]

The tracking devices could be placed on the child via a wristband, sewn into clothing, or clipped onto a shoelace or belt loop.

However, Sen. Schumer expressed concern over costs associated with offering such a device. He said the GPS unit would cost about $80-$90, and the actual monitoring would cost a few dollars a month. 

But Schumer hopes the rewards will offset the costs, as no one wants to worry about their child going missing. 

Using GPS devices to track children is by no means a new idea. Back in 2011, the Anaheim Union High School District volunteered to be apart of a six-week program, which aims to reduce the number of unexcused absences by equipping seventh and eighth grade students who have a poor attendance record with handheld GPS devices. Reducing the number of absences a student has saves the school district money. Every time a student misses class, the school loses $35.

Source: ABC

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By amanojaku on 1/27/2014 10:16:15 AM , Rating: 5
The law is named after Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from New York who was recently found dead along the banks of the East River after wandering away from home.
Please read the stories and report the facts as they occurred. Avonte did NOT wander away from home. He was in a special needs school, and walked out of an unlocked door while a security guard watched. This was a simple case of negligence that resulted the boy's unfortunate death. Had the door been locked, and the guard responsible, this would never have happened. Governor Cuomo wants the federal government to fund $10 million to get these trackers. I say "no", no one else in this country should be paying for this. Parent who want this kind of monitoring should pay for it themselves.

By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2014 10:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
The error has been corrected.

By amanojaku on 1/27/2014 10:30:09 AM , Rating: 4
Thanks. I'm sorry for being so angry, but a journalist has two major responsibilities: collection and validation of information, and unbiased reporting. I don't see much bias in Tiffany's writing, but there have been a few examples of invalid information. Hell, if you look at the missing persons poster in the image above, it even says he was last seen leaving his school. TWICE.

FYI, I said Gov. Cuomo, but I meant Sen. Schumer. And it is $10M he's asking for. I heard it on the news last night, since I live less than 15 miles away from where Avonte was found.

By marvdmartian on 1/28/2014 7:40:51 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, that GulWestfale got slammed in their remark, but they did have a point. If you're coming to DT for news, you might expect to be a little more lax with your standards.

Either that, or show where you're ranting at CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Yahoo (etc.) news, for their crappy "reporting". Let's face it, Tiffany and the rest of the DT writers really aren't that much worse than some of the clowns we have, reporting the news on national news shows & websites.

By Stan11003 on 1/27/2014 10:32:21 AM , Rating: 1
Generally public buildings don't lock their doors because of fire codes.

By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2014 10:45:18 AM , Rating: 2
I got that from the movie "Lean on Me", but don't many schools have locked doors due to Columbine and other recent school shootings?

By Belegost on 1/27/2014 10:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
Well, at my kids' school when the bell rings the doors get locked so that from outside they don't open, and from the inside they will set off the fire alarm when opened. The only way into the school is through the main doors which require the secretary to buzz you through.

Perhaps a better campaign would be increased funding for facilities improvements on schools to help ALL kids be safe?

By kattanna on 1/28/2014 10:49:26 AM , Rating: 2
The only way into the school is through the main doors which require the secretary to buzz you through.

that sounds more like a prison then a school

By jrpros on 1/27/2014 11:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
You cannot lock a door so that people cannot exit a building. Some jurisdictions allow the use of delayed egress, which temporarily keeps a door locked while an alarm sounds, but it is usually not allowed in schools. If this is a facility strictly for children who cannot care for themselves, the local authority may allow a delayed egress lock if they felt it was in the best interest of the students and staff was properly trained, but it is a risky liability to take on.

By drycrust3 on 1/27/2014 2:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
and the guard responsible, this would never have happened.

Was it the guard's job to stop children from this class leaving it? I have little doubt that a security guard at a school would have been told exactly what he can and can't do, and until you know exactly what those boundaries are you shouldn't say he was being irresponsible by letting the child walk out of the classroom.

By amanojaku on 1/27/2014 3:52:19 PM , Rating: 3
The following post is a reply to everyone else on this thread, and an explanation of the entire incident for all readers. My position might make more sense if you knew the whole story.

Avonte Oquendo had severe autism. He was incapable of social interaction, and he could not take care of himself. Consequently, he attended a special needs school during the day since he would most definitely injure himself if left alone.

The school is designed to care for children such as himself. It is everyone's responsibility to ensure the safety of these children, including knowing their whereabouts at all times. There were three teachers watching over 11 children. There were exits manned by safety agents. There were cameras at every exit. Avonte just walked out.

It wasn't a great escape. On October 4th, Avonte departed from class without anyone noticing. He walked past the safety agent to one emergency exit, which appears to have been locked. He walked past the safety agent a second time, to a second emergency exit. The safety agent claims to have asked him where he was going, but didn't stop him since he didn't respond (autism!). That exit was open. A safety agent later closed it and locked it . Four minutes after Aveonte walked out. It's unclear if this is the same agent that didn't stop him, but it IS clear that the door was supposed to be locked.

It took over 15 minutes for teachers to inform the assistant principal that Avonte had disappeared. The principal asked the safety agent to check the perimeter, but the agent claimed the boy had gone back inside. It was only after the cameras were checked that the agent was found to be lying, but it took 2 hours to confirm via the cameras because no one had the password. The assistant principal requested (not sure from whom) permission to put the school on lock down, but was denied. And the police weren't notified until 2 hours after the boy had disappeared.

All of this came from an investigation by the Deparment of Education. Avonte was later found on Thursday, January 16 by the East River, dismembered, and with part of his skull missing. The cause of death is currently unknown.

This would not have been prevented by a tracking device, because it is clear the school was negligent in general. From lying safety agents to orders to keep things quiet, there is no way anyone would be checking a tracking device. Had the school done as expected, a tracking device would not have been necessary. And for Schumer to take advantage of this, asking for federal funding to cover the mistake of one school...

By kmmatney on 1/27/2014 8:38:23 PM , Rating: 2
The cost of these is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost already involved in taking care of them. It might even pay for itself if it can save a large police search, and all the other costs involved in a case like this. I'm sure there are now lawyers involved and this can end of costing a lot more than $10M.

Do we really need a law for this?
By Belegost on 1/27/2014 10:30:24 AM , Rating: 5
For the record, a quick search reveals a wide variety of GPS tracking devices being offered to parents for keeping tabs on their kids. These are not terribly expensive in terms of upfront purchase or monthly cost (I happen to work for a company that has a gps monitor for PETS that costs around $14/month, so ...)

So, when I see this in the article linked:

It is something Michael Rosen, the Executive Director of Autism Speaks has lost sleep about - his son Nicky is autistic and non-verbal. When Nicky was little, he wandered. Rosen says he once found Nicky on a neighbor's roof.

"Eventually we had to put locks on top of doors, and that's how people with autism live," says Rosen, "you can't turn your back for one second."

I get a little pissed off, Mr. Rosen - GO BUY A MONITOR! Instead of doing the rational thing here the idea seems to be to make a sob story to convince people the government needs to do it.

There is no reason for a law on this, it's simply the government pushing into places it does not belong. Is it so hard to be responsible for your own children? I have 2, I worry about them, and if they had a tendency to wander off I would certainly get a monitor for them.

And before someone brings up the argument that poor families could not afford it - my nephew is autistic, his parents receive a number of subsidies to help them (despite being above middle class) with it, and there are even more subsidies for in-need families with special needs children. I rather think those programs may already be able to cover the expense when a family requests it, and if not it seems like the better idea would be to push for increased funding of those programs so that parents who legitimately need help affording monitoring can receive it.

But making a law like this forcing it? That's just bs.

RE: Do we really need a law for this?
By M'n'M on 1/27/2014 11:32:54 AM , Rating: 2
But making a law like this forcing it? That's just bs.

You are correct on all counts. And I shudder to think of where this will lead to. I thought mutant registration and tracking was comic book stuff ...

By Rukkian on 1/27/2014 12:06:41 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with your post completely. While there may be benefits to some kids with this, it should fall on the parents. The Government should have no part of this, other than, as you said maybe giving some sort of help if somebody shows a need for this, and cannot afford it. That is a stretch in and of itself, as people have figured out how to track their kids (even special needs kids) forever without a gps tracking device. While this may make it easier, it is not required, and there should be no law written to have anything to do with this.

By anactoraaron on 1/27/2014 12:27:39 PM , Rating: 3
There is no reason for a law on this

Well if you are a scumbag ill-informed out-of-touch politician looking to 'cash-in' on this, then you might see a reason.

For everyone else, this is despicable for a politician to even think of doing. Even parents with autistic kids. I have an autistic child (in the higher functioning/doesn't just wonder off category), and this law is just ridiculous.

I mean, if you want to keep tabs on your kid if he has a tendency to wonder off, fine. Buy a gps monitor. As you correctly stated autistic kids' parents already recieve
receive a number of subsidies to help them

And that's how these parents should pay for it.

Making this law is a double subsidy of sorts from the government and is a shining example of government waste and is completely unnecessary(unless of course, you are looking to gain politically from it).

By marvdmartian on 1/28/2014 7:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
This is just Chuck Schumer, grandstanding for some press time. He knows it's unlikely this will ever pass, but he also knows that he gets free press time, showing how much he cares about his constituents, by bringing it up.

Honestly, if the transmitters are <$100, what's to keep the parents of these kids (you know, the ones who should be responsible for them?) from getting one, and signing up for a monthly tracking service??

In other words, why in the blazes does the government need to provide it???

RE: Do we really need a law for this?
By ipay on 1/28/2014 3:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
what about the corresponding Law for 24/7 GPS Tracking of NY Senators with those tiny cat type gps that take pictures and coordinates every 4 minutes and auto uploads them to some public server that the nsa can monitor

Twighlight Zone Stuff
By bitmover461 on 1/27/2014 1:46:58 PM , Rating: 3
When the government starts mandating tracking devices on ANYONE, we have officially become a Fascist state.

RE: Twighlight Zone Stuff
By kmmatney on 1/27/2014 8:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see tracking devices on child sex offenders and rapists...

RE: Twighlight Zone Stuff
By kfonda on 1/28/2014 8:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
I would prefer they be dealt with in a more permanent way. Now need to waste money on tracking them.

RE: Twighlight Zone Stuff
By troysavary on 1/28/2014 8:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
I have the perfect tracking device for child sex offenders and rapists. It is a slab of granite with two dates on it.

Cool, now the govameent can raise children too?
By half_duplex on 1/27/2014 10:11:10 AM , Rating: 1
govameent wase my chitlen and gimma muh check.

By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2014 10:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
Cool, now the govameent can raise children too?


Hahahaha ;)

RE: Cool, now the govameent can raise children too?
By room200 on 1/27/14, Rating: 0
By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2014 10:43:49 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's laughable to consider this proposed legislation is the entry point for the government "raising" our children.

RE: Cool, now the govameent can raise children too?
By room200 on 1/27/14, Rating: -1
By Brandon Hill on 1/27/2014 11:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't even acknowledge his post, only the title of his post (which I quoted). I didn't quote his actual post for obvious reasons.

And I actually agree with you that this adds an extra layer of security that would be beneficial to the child. However, I don't think that the onus should be on the technology, it should have been on the school responsible for a child with special needs.

As the husband of a teacher that works in a traditional elementary school, the lengths that they go to to ensure that each child is safe and accounted for at all times is immense. I would imagine that a child like Avonte would be monitored even more stringently by school personnel for his own safety.

So while I agree in premise that the idea of GPS tagging would be helpful in this specific case (and I do really mean specific because he couldn't communicate verbally), the resources required to implement this system on even a statewide level (let alone nationwide) would be incredible.

By FITCamaro on 1/27/2014 1:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "now"?

They've been doing it for over 40 years through the Department of Education and HHS.

Yeah, I'm All For This!!!
By Arsynic on 1/27/2014 11:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
There's no possible way that this could be abused. Government has a long and stellar track record of not infringing on the God-given rights of individuals.

RE: Yeah, I'm All For This!!!
By FaaR on 1/27/2014 6:15:22 PM , Rating: 2
While I'm not favoring this politician's idea; the true value of the proposal seems iffy at best and would appear to mostly be a money-saving CYA move, when what really is needed is more (watchful) people around these children, I have to question your jumping to conclusions in your post. How exactly do you imagine autistic children being GPS-tracked would be abused by the government...? Kiddies aren't exactly a very high value source for intel, you know.

Also, don't use the stupid "god-given rights" expression; nothing on this planet is "god-given". Especially not anything in the united states constitution and bill of rights, which are secular documents written by ordinary people and not deities. Furthermore, if you want to argue that the US was founded by the will of a god, you then also argue that the genocide of native north americans was sanctioned by higher powers, which is frankly...disgusting, to say the least.

RE: Yeah, I'm All For This!!!
By Arsynic on 1/28/2014 10:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
You missed the point and decided to go on an anti-God rant.

We don't get our basic rights from a document. The Constitution mainly affirms these rights. They're "god-given" because they're basic rights that every human is born with. The right to live, the right to be free and the right to pursue our happiness.

No man has the right to take these away, only the Creator. And yes, I believe in an intelligent Creator.

I call B.S. on the costs
By mike8675309 on 1/27/2014 12:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
A couple dollars a month in service for tracking? Guess a gain. Just look into getting a device for your Grandma in case she needs help (fallen and get get up stuff) and you're looking at a minimum of $25.00 per month and that's if you pay for a year up front.

RE: I call B.S. on the costs
By kmmatney on 1/27/2014 8:46:35 PM , Rating: 2
of course government can do this much more efficiently than a company like Life Call (rolls eyes).

By rika13 on 1/27/2014 6:10:28 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know about schools, and the bajillion various states' laws.
However, nursing homes in Illinois universally have keypads with posted codes to keep the wanderers from leaving. If you really have to, you can do the 15s push and fire alarm routine. There are GPS trackers for wanderers as well because they are encouraged to aimlessly wander the halls to help them get familiar with the area.

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