NEW YORK (PIX11) – Avonte’s mother, Vanessa Fontaine, filed a Freedom of Information Law Request and asked a court to order the NYPD to release all pertinent information on why this special needs child was permitted to leave his school, by himself, in the middle of the school day.
Now this request was first denied in October, allegedly because it would interfere with police investigations.
Avonte’s mother appealed the denial and was again denied, this time because it would amount to an invasion of privacy and would endanger the life or safety of a person.
Fontaine’s lawyer, as one would expect, disputed this and said in effect that the evidence of how Avonte was permitted to leave school has nothing to do with a criminal investigation.
And as far as privacy, the only privacy concerns are as to Avonte and his mother and she’s waived any privacy issues by filing the request in the first place.
Now, she’s asking a court to order the NYPD to comply and turn over the documents to the court to conduct, what we call in the biz, an “in-camera review”, meaning a private non-public review to see what records are exempt.
The deadline for the NYPD is February 5th to show cause why the request should not be answered.
And will these records help in a potential lawsuit against the city and the school and the department of education for negligence in permitting an autistic child entrusted to them to walk out of his school in the middle of the day? Absolutely.