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Letter: Schools must have emergency plans

Our grief over Avonte Oquendo's death is compounded by the knowledge that it might have been prevented [" 'Avonte's Law' proposed," News, Jan. 27]. The danger of kids running out of school cannot be eliminated, but it must be minimized.

Every school is required to have a safety plan that spells out all contingencies and delegates duties. Have you seen the safety plan of your child's school? Does it cover emergencies such as intruders, fires, medical crises, environmental hazards, accidents and lockdowns?

Another good question to ask is whether there is a clear chain of command, and reasonable assignment of tasks and personnel. As a parent, you have the right to this information.

The legal requirement that children with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment is compassionate and sensible. General and special education kids learn from each other. But we must also provide the extra security needed to supervise our most vulnerable students.

We shouldn't have kids wear ankle bracelets like felons or be GPS-tracked like sanitation trucks. Nor do we want to install cameras in classrooms.

The tragedy of Avonte Oquendo is too terrible for words. But words can at least lead to actions that may forestall another such tragedy. Let those words proclaim the special sanctity of the lives of children and the providential role of each of us to protect them.

Ron Isaac, Fresh Meadows

Editor's note: The writer is a retired New York City English teacher.