The family of an autistic student who choked to death on a muffin at her Brooklyn high school earlier this week plans to sue the city.
Dyasha Phelps Smith, a 21-year-old special needs student at the School for International Studies in Boerum Hill, choked to death on Tuesday, and her mother claims the school should have been supervising her while she ate. "She's not a child to be alone. She's a child, when she's eating, you have to either feed her or make sure she takes little by little," her mother, Catherine Smith, told NBC News.
Smith has retained attorney David Perecman, who represents the family of Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old autistic boy who died after running away from his special needs school in Queens last year. Perecman told reporters that the impending suit hopes to improve conditions for special needs students in the city, and says Dyasha should have had an aide with her while eating. Smith says school officials will not speak with her. "They won’t return my calls," she told the Daily News.
Earlier this week, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina told reporters the Department of Education would launch an investigation into Dyasha's death. "I am deeply saddened to hear of this loss, and my heart goes out to the student’s family and the entire school community," she said in a statement.