Autistic Boy Drowns In River While School Marked Him Present Three Times

News

A 14-year-old boy in Rochester, New York wandered away from his school without any employees noticing, and later drowned in the nearby Genesee River. Before authorities and school workers took notice of the reported autistic student’s disappearance, he was marked present in class by three employees, CBS News reports.

Since Trevyan Rowe wasn’t marked absent in class on March 8, his mother didn’t get an automated notification of his absence. Instead, she realized he was missing after Rowe never returned home after school. She reported his disappearance around 5 p.m., approximately 10 hours after he was initially dropped off at school. After a three-day search, authorities found his body in the river.

A teacher reportedly attempted to change Rowe’s attendance record to show when school officials realized he was missing, Rochester School Board President Van White stated.

Five school employees were tasked with shuffling the students from their buses into the school, but around 7:30 a.m., no one noticed Rowe had wandered off in another direction, Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams said. She revealed Rowe’s school classified him as having a learning disability and not autism, which complicates things because he didn’t receive the services he needed. Additionally, his records did not indicate that he wandered often, which is why he didn’t get special attention upon exiting the school bus.

“It is apparent that we were not as careful as we should have been and there were dire consequences for that,” she said, adding that the district is investigating why he wasn’t initially classified as autistic.

“Had it not been for adult failures, Trevyan Rowe may still be with us,” Mayor Lovely Warren stated during a press conference.

Warren also announced the suspension of six Monroe County 911 employees for not following proper protocol. She said the dispatchers failed to contact the fire department and a dive team after various reports of a person walking toward an interstate bridge over the Genesee River were filed.