Lawsuit: Autistic Boy Drowned as Lifeguard Used Computer

Mom seeks $100K from Chicago Board of Education
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2017 1:39 PM CST
Lawsuit: Autistic Boy Drowned as Lifeguard Used Computer
Rosario Israel Gomez   (GoFundMe)

As a special education class splashed in a swimming pool at a high school in Chicago, the lifeguard who was supposed to be on duty was using a computer in a nearby office, according to a lawsuit. That's just one reason Yolanda Juarez believes her 14-year-old son drowned. In a wrongful death suit filed against the Chicago Board of Education, Juarez says Rosario Gomez, who had autism, didn't know how to swim and wasn't given a one-on-one lesson, a flotation device, or a swimming buddy before being allowed into the pool. He was then "allowed to struggle and drown" and "remain unnoticed at the bottom of the swimming pool … for a sufficient time so as to make resuscitation efforts futile," the lawsuit reads, per People.

Authorities say Rosario was found unresponsive in four to six feet of water on Jan. 25. Paramedics were called around 1:30pm and performed CPR before Rosario was pronounced dead at a hospital at 2:18pm, reports the Chicago Tribune. His death was ruled an accident, but school officials "knew or should have known" the risks presented by a lack of supervision and Rosario's difficulty in communicating, per the lawsuit, which is seeking more than $100,000. "He loved school," adds a GoFundMe page. "We are all devastated and cannot understand how the place your child should feel safe … suddenly becomes the reason why he does not come home." Chicago Public Schools declined to comment on the suit, per CBS Chicago. (An Indiana woman drowned while apparently trying to rescue a lost dog.)

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