A Montreal school board has decided to suspend school swimming lessons following a coroner’s report into the drowning of a 14-year-old Quebec student during class earlier this year.
The Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (CSMB) — a French-language school board which serves the western part of the island of Montreal — said on Thursday it has chosen to temporarily pull all swimming classes in its schools as a precaution.
In February 2018, Blessing Moukoko drowned during a high school gym class at a different school board.
A coroner’s report released in November found the teenager spent 38 minutes at the bottom of a Rosemont-Petite-Patrie pool with nobody noticing during the busy class.
In his report, coroner Louis Normandin recommended gym teachers be required to have a minimum of training if they are to give swimming lessons and that a lifeguard provide full-time surveillance during all courses. He added lessons should be suspended if those conditions can’t be met.
The family of Moukoko has since announced it intends to sue the Commission Scolaire de Montréal and the city, alleging negligence robbed them of a boy who was the centre of their lives.
While the drowning did not take place at a CSMB school, a spokesperson for the school board said it is following the coroner’s recommendations.
Swimming lessons at four high schools and one elementary school will be suspended for several weeks as the CSMB re-evaluates its safety procedures.
The CSMB told Global News it has not had any incidents related to swimming in its schools, but that it isn’t taking any chances.
— With files from Global’s Tim Sargeant and The Canadian Press
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