Parents trust that their child will be safely looked after by the school’s faculty, and that’s especially true for parents with disabled children since they often don’t understand dangerous situations.
After an autistic boy sprinted out of his New York City school in 2013, the Department of Education spent $5.5 million putting door alarms in 1,200 New York schools and training staff to monitor unlocked exits, which is why Asmaa Awawda believed her 6-year-old son with autism would be safe at school.
Yet even after Awawda warned the school about her son Ibrahim and how he needs constant supervision, he managed to run straight out the door without setting off a single alarm since the school had disabled them out of convenience. “I told them my son can’t be left alone because he’s a runner,” Awawda said.
And when the school bus arrived at 3 p.m., the bus driver was told Ibrahim had been picked up by his mother. To be sure, he called Awawda who panicked when she heard her son was missing. Luckily, however, off-duty police officer Christian Lopez was home in his apartment and heard a little boy in the hallway trying to open doors. He looked out his door, and realized the boy opened the door to the roof and followed him up.
He found the 6-year-old leaning over the ledge of the building and quickly grabbed him and pulled him to safety. Soon after, his terrified mother arrived and burst into tears when she was reunited with him. “They just started crying and hugging him and thanking me,” Lopez said. “Thank God he found my son!” cried Awawda, who is now looking to switch Ibrahim’s school.
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[Featured image: J.C. Rice/ NY Post]