The office of the chief coroner says there will be no inquest into the death of a five-year-old boy.
According to the coroner report, Ahmedsadiq Elmmi’s death on Sept. 11, 2017 has been deemed accidental after he drowned in a storm pond close to École Dundonald School in Saskatoon.
According to Saskatoon Public School officials, it was Elmmi’s first day of school when he disappeared from the care of his education assistant (EA). Safety plans were developed over the summer to assist with his autism needs and the tragedy unfolded in just moments.
“The EA was instructed to hold Admed’s hand throughout the recess period, the EA stated that she held onto him tightly and he twice tried to get away,” detailed Jaime Valentine, superintendent of human resources for the school board.
On the third try, Elmmi is said to have broken away and lined up to go on the slide. The EA then was momentarily distracted by another child wanting a hug and lost track of Elmmi.
“When the kindergarten teacher saw the student was not with the EA, the teacher ran over and asked where the student was,” Valentine. said
“The EA replied that she let go of the student to go the slide however the student was not at the slide and couldn’t be seen.”
A 911 call was made and the child discovered in the storm pond close by. Elmmi was pronounced dead at hospital and school officials say the EA, although she still works for the school division, is no longer at Dundonald.
Following the tragedy the school division undertook its own investigation and on Wednesday disclosed its eight recommendations, including a safety plan template for use with critical intensive support for students.
This is in addition to the more than half a dozen recommendations by the province’s coroner – so this never happens again.
The recommendations are directed at both Saskatoon school divisions and include:
A review to be completed of the current policies pertaining to student supervision during recess.
Possibly monitoring areas that could pose a risk to students especially ones with special needs.
Review and develop communication and training strategies where all staff members and educational assistants are informed not only of the special needs of a student but understand requirements to provide care and supervision to meet those needs.
Implementing water safety education for all students.
Greg Chatlin, with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, said water safety education is a new consideration and they will consult the ministry on how this could be incorporated into their curriculum.
“Any of the follow-up of this kind of event we take very seriously and the coroner’s is an important piece in that for sure,” Chatlin said.
Another piece to fall into place – an internal review by the city.
Its recommendations are consist with the coroner’s and address all the concerns released in the report, including the need for better water safety education, signage that is less texted heavy outlining the dangers of the ponds to children who may not be able to read, and assessing the need to additional barriers to existing to keep children safe.
“At Dundonald pond we are recommending that a 1.2 metre rod-iron fence be installed on the west and north side of the pond and this is essentially to separate the activities of the schools, the public use of the ponds and the pathways,” said Angela Gardiner, the acting general manager of transportation and utilities with the city.
The province’s coroner also recommends that the city and school boards consider the future placements of ponds and that they be located away school grounds, playgrounds and anywhere that children that are known to play.
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