Exclusive: Advocates ask for answers days after boy with Autism wanders from school

Police say that 11-year-old Andrew Burney, a Brooklyn resident, was found in Nassau County, Long Island, hours after going missing.

News 12 Staff

Jan 5, 2024, 1:52 AM

Updated 134 days ago

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An 11-year-old nonverbal child with autism was reported missing at P.S. 369 in Boerum Hill on Tuesday, according to law enforcement officials.
 
Police say that 11-year-old Andrew Burney, a Brooklyn resident, was found in Nassau County, Long Island, hours after going missing.
 
News 12 exclusively spoke with Steven Dorfman, who represented the family of Avonte Oquendo. He was also a nonverbal boy with autism who left his New York City school unsupervised and was tragically found dead in the East River days later in 2014. Enacted that same year, Avonte's Law requires the Department of Education to install alarms on all outside doors at Elementary and District 75 schools with special needs students.
 
"We shouldn't be in this repeated set of circumstances where unfortunately we have yet another child that's leaving the schools because of inappropriate supervision," Steven Dorfman, Perecman Firm. "The school and the district is going to have to ask themselves, why does this keep on happening? And hopefully at some point will be concerned enough to provide an appropriate response."
 
Autism Speaks is educating the community about their "Autism Speaks Safety Kits" for parents and schools, to ensure the safety of all children with special needs. They also ask the community to stay aware, and if they see something that doesn't look right, like a child wandering alone, especially at night, call police.
 
"Wandering is very serious because you have a child going from a safe, supervised setting to one that may not be safe and may be very dangerous," said Stuart Spielman, senior vice president of advocacy at Autism Speaks.
 
To learn more about the Autism Speaks safety clicks, click on "Numbers and Links."


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