The following remarks were delivered by parent and StudentsFirstNY organizer Darlene Boston at an event today marking the implementation of Avontes Law.
My name is Darlene Boston and I’m the organizer for the Bedford-Stuyvesant chapter of StudentsFirstNY.
I want to thank Councilmember Cornegy for his leadership on this issue. He has been out front from the beginning and this would not have gotten done without his efforts.
But most of all I want to thank all of the parents like me who stood up and spoke out. It’s our voice, our organizing, that got this done, that made our schools safer.
The first time we stood on these steps, what we heard was, “this can’t be done, it’s too complicated.” Well when it comes to the safety of our children, moms and dads like me won’t take no for an answer. And now, because of that organizing, we’re here today.
In addition to being a parent organizer, I’m also a mother of three.
My youngest son Shaqueil is autistic and non-verbal. He attended PS 305. One of my biggest worries everyday was Shaqueil’s safety at school.
I worried that he would wander out of school and be in danger.
As the parent of an autistic child or the parent of a young child entering pre-K, one of the scariest things you can do is entrust their safety to the City of New York. But as parents we do this on a daily basis and hope for the best.
As the mom of an autistic child, and as an organizer who talks to public school parents all day, every day, I want to applaud the Council Member Cornegy and his colleagues. Thank you for protecting our children.