Teenager Drowns During High School Swim Class

13-year-old child drowns during a High School Physical Education Swim Class


After 30 minutes of instruction, the physical education class was given 10 minutes of recreation swim time which was supervised by the Physical Education teacher. At the conclusion of the class, the teacher escorted his students out of the swimming pool and into the locker room. The teacher then re-entered the swimming pool to swim laps. After swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes, the teacher exited the pool area and returned to his office.

As the next class swam in the pool, one of the students spotted the 13-year-old teenager submerged in the deep end of the pool. The teenager was removed from the pool and CPR was administered by school personnel until relieved by EMS personnel. CPR was continued enroute to the hospital. The child was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Besides the lack of adequate supervision during the instruction phase and recreational swim phase of this High School Physical Education Swim Class, the condition of the water was so poor that the body of the deceased child could not be seen by anyone in the swimming pool or the swimming pool area. This was evident by the fact that the teacher swam laps in the pool for approximately 20 minutes without seeing the child lying on the bottom of the deep end of the pool.

The School District had no established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) pertaining to the maintenance of this facility and did not provide any of their maintenance or instructional staff with any type of formal Swimming Pool Operator training. Furthermore, the School District had no established SOPs pertaining to surveillance and supervision of children while using the swimming pool. There was no accountability system in place; Lifeguards were not provided during instruction or recreational swims; teachers were not required to maintain any recognized level of certification; etc.

The School District conducted an internal investigation of this incident. Based on their investigation, they stated this “…was an unavoidable accident.” However, as a result of their investigation, many new safeguards, policies and procedures have been implemented. In addition, the School District installed Poseidon Technologies Systems in each of the 4 district swimming pools.

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