Avonte's Law Passes City Council

July 23, 2014

What I Did...

On July 23, 2014 I attended the City Council's Committee on Education meeting to vote on Avonte's Law. Held in a non-descript room at 250 Broadway, the meeting was attended by few and met with much less media presence than expected by council members. Even the voting members couldn't be bothered to show up on time, some strolling in 45 minutes after the published meeting time. Apparently the testimony took place weeks ago, and this was to be the final vote. Only it wasn't. The final vote was held on July 24. The law itself leaves much to be desired for District 75 parents. The law doesn't actually state that a school has to install anything, only that the Department of Education and the NYPD have to conduct an assessment and the results go onto a list. The law also states that schools serving severely disabled students must report training given to staff and faculty... Only the law doesn't actually make that training mandatory.

How This Benefits Students...

There are several lessons for students to learn by attending a city council committee meeting. The student will learn about functions within the city council, and how tasks are divided into committees. The student will learn about how the media gets (and reports on) the stories in the daily news. A meeting like this will often illustrate to students what events are happening in the community or events that have a long-lasting impact on a community.

For older students, there is the opportunity to learn about political influences and media talking points. Watching council members speak to the media was frustrating at best-- the attempt to positively spin the "news" was clear, despite the fact that the law requires very little of the schools serving severely disabled students. This is important for older students to investigate... What are the factors keeping this law from being more stringent to prevent more student disappearances? In addition, students can examine reporting from media sources and compare their meeting notes and documents with what is being reported. Unless I'm understanding this incorrectly, I have already found media sources with incorrect reporting of facts. This is an important exercise for students to become responsible consumers of media.

Students will also practice dressing appropriately for a business setting as well as procedures for attendance (check in, being on time).