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Newburgh mother fights for safety of students traveling abroad; son drowns in Costa Rica

Rep. Sean Maloney introduces new bill to protect students traveling abroad

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NEWBURGH — A mother in Newburgh fights to protect students traveling abroad after her son dies in Costa Rica. Ros Thackurdeen’s son Ravi, 19, attended Swarthmore College, participated in a study abroad program through Duke University, and drowned to death at a beach.

Thackerdeen has dedicated herself to helping students and parents make smarter decisions on safer study abroad trips. New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney is helping take her fight to Washington. Maloney says under the current law, higher education institutions don't have to report how many students die while studying abroad at an approved program. Thackurdeen says schools don’t report these incidents because schools are a brand.

"They control the narrative; schools are a brand," says Thackurdeen.

Maloney is helping Thackurdeen back a bill in her son's name that requires colleges and universities to track student deaths abroad and publish those numbers on their annual crime report. Thackurdeen says the data would allow scientists and researchers to see patterns on how young people die. The information could then be passed on to students, educators, and parents. The legislation would also require institutions of higher education to report every other year the steps they are taking to keep students safe while studying abroad.

Thackurdeen is now awaiting a judge's decision on a wrongful death lawsuit.

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