Parents of drowned Sask. boy sue school board

Saskatchewan children’s advocate said the boy’s death was preventable

Ahmedsadiq Hussein Elmmi is shown in this undated family handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

The parents of a five-year-old autistic boy who died after falling into a pond on his first full day of school are suing the Saskatoon school board and the city alleging negligence cost them the light of their lives.

Ahmedsadiq Hussein Elmmi died after falling into a storm pond near Ecole Dundonald School on Sept. 11 after morning recess.

“I lost my heart,” his mother Fathiya Nour told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. “My heart is broken.”

The boy’s death has been hardest on the couple’s three-year-old who still asks after his older brother.

“He was asking me this morning and he said, ‘Bring my brother back, daddy. I want my brother,’” said Hussein Elmmi, the boy’s father.

“The house misses him. He was a really lovely boy. I feel like I had everything when I’m with him.”

A statement of claim filed on behalf of the boy’s parents alleges his death was preventable and the school board was negligent. The lawsuit also alleges negligence on the part of the city for not properly fencing off the pond.

“The defendants, and Saskatoon Public Schools in particular, have shown outrageous disregard for safety and, in particular, the safety of Ahmed, special-needs children like Ahmed, and children in general,” the statement of claim reads.

“Ahmed’s behaviour of wandering/running is common in autistic children. But it is foreseeable that any child facing stress from attending a new school may decide to leave an unfenced playground and come to harm.”

No statement of defence has been filed and the claims have not been proven in court. In an emailed statement, the City of Saskatoon said it was reviewing the statement of claim.

The coroner’s office said last week the death was accidental and no inquest will be held.

Elmmi said his son’s death was no accident.

“We did everything we were supposed to do,” he said. “They told us … he would be in good hands. And this is the result.”

Saskatchewan children’s advocate Corey O’Soup also investigated the boy’s death and said it was preventable.

In a report tabled in the legislature Tuesday, O’Soup said having an education assistant hold the boy’s hand at recess was only part of the school’s safety plan. Ahmedsadiq was also supposed to be wearing a red vest and his special needs were supposed to be well-known.

“Having those two other elements with the safety plan in place could have caused this not to happen,” O’Soup said.

The advocate made several recommendations to the school board and Education Department including better communication and safety plans for high-needs children.

Education Minister Gordon Wyant said his department has accepted all of the advocate’s recommendations and is working on implementing them.

A report by Saskatoon Public Schools released last week said Ahmedsadiq was fascinated by water and the school had worked hard in the months before his arrival to ensure his safety.

“The school felt confident that they had a solid safety plan in place for Ahmed’s arrival at school,” the report said. “Unfortunately, in the end the plan was not executed to perfection.”

An education assistant assigned to the boy held his hand at recess, the report said. Twice, Ahmedsadiq tried to free himself. On the third try, the report said, he lined up for the slide and recess supervisors lost track of him.

It all happened within five minutes, the report estimated.

Earlier this month, a city committee proposed a wrought-iron fence be built to separate Ecole Dundonald School from the park where the pond is located. City council is to consider the recommendation next month.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

Kitsuksis Creek residents urged to use alternate drinking water source

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Learn about Port Alberni’s mayoral candidates with new film series

Alberni Valley filmmaker Dallas Dalziel discusses key issues with candidates

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Learn the basics of publishing at Port Alberni workshop

George Opacic of Rutherford Press will present keys to the professional side of publishing

Bear makes midnight front porch visit in Campbell River

A black bear paid a Campbell River family a midnight visit last… Continue reading

Legal society poster seeks complainants against two cops on Downtown Eastside

Pivot Legal Society became aware of allegations made against the officers after a video circulated

Jury to deliberate in case of Calgary man accused of murdering woman

Curtis Healy could be convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree murder or manslaughter

House arrest for man who abused disabled B.C. woman, then blamed her

‘Groomed complainant’ and ‘violated position of trust,’ judge says

Liberals want to know what Canadians think of legalized weed

The federal government will comb social media for Canadians’ pot-related behaviour

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen boasts of aiding Mueller investigation

Cohen could provide information on whether Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russians

Landslide forces evacuations of Philippine villages

More than 1,200 people in villages near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities

Students asked about the positive effects of residential schools

Alberta’s education minister apologized after hearing about the online social studies course

Permit to give B.C. deer birth control on hold until consultation with First Nations

Complexity of consultation will depend on level of First Nations support for the project

Most Read