Family to file $5 million lawsuit against DOE after 5-year-old with cerebral palsy goes missing at Lefferts Garden Charter School

The boy made it home safely with the help of a Good Samaritan after getting locked out of school. (2/11/14)

BROOKLYN - The family of a 5-year-old boy with cerebral palsy is planning to sue the city's Department of Education for $5 million after he went missing from his school for nearly an hour.

According to the Sharon Nelson, her son, Malachi, was told by his teacher at Lefferts Garden Charter School to go by himself to find his bus matron. She says he somehow got locked out of the school's side entrance and started crying until a Good Samaritan helped him get home safely.

"Children with disabilities must be under the supervision of school personnel at all times," said Sanford Rubenstein, the family's lawyer. "Leaving a 5-year-old who suffers from cerebral palsy unattended in school to wander around is unacceptable…What happened to Avonte Oquendo must never happen to another child in this city."

READ MORE: Education Stories

Oquendo, a Queens boy with autism, was recently found dead after going missing from his Long Island City school back in October. 

Nelson says the lawsuit is for emotional and psychological damages, and she's also demanding that her son be transferred to another school. 

A law department spokesperson with the DOE says the lawsuit will be reviewed when it's filed.

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