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

Cherry Creek firefighters mourn former deputy chief

Brian Brick is the second Alberni Valley firefighter to die of work-related cancer in January

Port Alberni to consider the future of McLean Mill

City council will be holding a committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 21

Intern gives Port Alberni’s museum artifacts an update

St. John’s man travelled more than 7,000 kms to assist with curatorial duties

BCHL: Bulldogs best Salmon Arm at home

Bulldogs face Powell River in Sunday matinee Jan. 20; puck drop is 2 p.m.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Vancouver Island senior dies after medical emergency and rollover crash

Incident happened Saturday in Nanaimo on Poplar Street

Most Read