Two Glendale teachers could face child-abuse charges following the drowning of an Ironwood High School sophomore during gym class.
Jesus “Jesse” Prado, 16, died last month, two days after a classmate pulled him from a pool when Prado slipped under the water, two gym teachers were supposed to be monitoring about 50 boys using the pool, but neither teacher noticed Prado sink to the bottom, according to a police report. Prado did not know how to swim and usually remained in the shallow end, classmates and a teacher told investigators.
Glendale police will submit the case to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to review whether child-abuse charges will be sought against the teachers, Tim McKee and Larry Allen, the report states.
McKee and Allen could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. The teachers are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Peoria Unified School District.
District officials were unaware that charges against the teachers were a possibility, a spokeswoman said.
Officer Karen Gerardo, a spokeswoman for Glendale police, said the case would be forwarded to the county attorney once a medical examiner’s report is complete. “It’s a standard practice in situations like this to submit charges to the county attorney for review,” Gerardo said. She would not elaborate. Ultimately, county prosecutors will review the case to determine whether charges are merited.
According to the report obtained Tuesday through a public-record request by The Arizona Republic, McKee told detectives he knew Prado did not know how to swim.The teacher told authorities he was unable to find a floatable kickboard for Prado earlier in the class. He said the teen was allowed to continue swimming in the shallow end.
At some point, Prado went into the deep end. A classmate told police that Prado was hanging underneath one of the diving boards when he let go and went under water. Several minutes passed before another boy noticed Prado at the bottom. The boy dove in and pulled Prado to the surface. The two teachers, who had been talking under the shade of an awning, rushed over.
McKee administered CPR until emergency crews arrived.
Jenny Prado, Jesse’s aunt, said the family continues to grieve. The aunt said she understood an accident could happen to anyone. But, she said teachers should have watched students more closely, especially given Jesse’s inexperience.”They should have been guarding the pool just as we do in our own backyard,” Jenny Prado said. “We send our kids to school trusting them to keep an eye on them.”
McKee and Allen were not lifeguard certified, although they were CPR certified, according to district officials.
The district doesn’t require teachers to be lifeguard certified.
County rules require at least three monitors to oversee a pool the size of Ironwood’s, according to a county health official. District spokeswoman Bonnie Apperson said possible disciplinary action against the teachers would be determined after the district’s investigation. Any changes to district policy would be made then, she said.