Canada 'There isn't anything worse that can happen': 5-year-old boy dead after being found in pond near Dundonald school

04:56  12 september  2017
04:56  12 september  2017 Source:   Star Phoenix

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It was supposed to be a celebratory day — the Monday kicking off the first full week of the new school year.

Instead, the Dundonald school community has been left stunned and saddened by the death of a five-year-old Kindergartner who was found after morning recess in a nearby pond.

Saskatoon police and MD Ambulance responded around 10:50 a.m. to the 100 block of Wedge Road, where “attempts were being made to locate a five-year-old child,” police said in a news release. The boy was found minutes later and taken by MD Ambulance to Royal University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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It’s March. How on earth did that happen , huh? It’s frightening how fast this year is whizzing by

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“When we arrived, we did find a five-year-old who was in cardiac arrest and we transported the five-year-old to RUH with full resuscitative efforts going,” MD Ambulance spokesman Troy Davies said.

Saskatoon Public Schools director of education Barry MacDougall confirmed the boy was found in the pond.

“There isn’t anything worse that can happen,” he told reporters Monday afternoon.

MacDougall said senior administrators and the Dundonald principal joined family members at the hospital.

There is no fence around the schoolyard or the pond, which is about 100 metres away.

Justin Luddington, whose daughter is set to begin preschool at Dundonald this week, said he has appreciated the pond as a pleasant feature in the park, until now.

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  Funeral held for boy who drowned in Dundonald pond Family members, friends and members of Saskatoon’s Islamic community laid to rest a five-year-old boy on Tuesday, just a day after he was pronounced dead in hospital a fter being found in a pond near Ecole Dundonald School.A large group of people stood outside the Islamic Association of Saskatchewan Mosque on Copland Crescent as the boy’s small casket was carried down a path and into the back of a waiting hearse.A small memorial to the child, who was in Kindergarten, was set up at the edge of the unfenced retention pond and the flag at the nearby school was lowered to half staff.

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“I don’t know the details about (the incident) and I don’t want to indict anyone’s supervision abilities or policies or anything like that, but certainly that age does strike me … You would expect that someone who’s five years old and in Kindergarten would be under more direct supervision,” he said.

By mid-afternoon, a petition to the City of Saskatoon asking that all public ponds be fenced or otherwise secured had been launched on the Change.org website.

About 500 children attend the school, which has a typical student-to-staff ratio of 23 to 1. Eight staff were supervising during recess. The school has counsellors but additional ones will be available in the days ahead, MacDougall said.

The school division will do an internal investigation and will immediately implement recommendations arising from it, he said, adding that fencing around the pond will also “be a conversation that will be held in the community.”

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In the morning, numerous police officers were at the school grounds and children were kept inside.

Parents received text messages around 11:30 a.m. saying a student had been involved in an accident and was at the hospital with family.

One mother, who didn’t want her name used, said she and about 50 other parents went to the school but police at the door wouldn’t let them inside until around 12:30 p.m., when school was dismissed for the day.

Classes are cancelled for Kindergarten students on Tuesday, while the rest of the school will resume classes, MacDougall said.

“We will be reviewing with the school and with families the supervision plan in and around the school, and talking to students … about how to maintain safe practices around things like bodies of water,” MacDougall said.

He said children who were on or around the playground may be interviewed by investigators.

“We rely on our counsellors and teachers to talk in ways that are appropriate for young people about their classmate and the kind of person they were and how much they’ll be missed.”

Mayor Charlie Clark immediately expressed his condolences.

“This is very sad and tragic news,” Clark said in a statement. “My thoughts, along with all of city council’s, are with the family and with the school community as we come to terms with this loss.”

— with StarPhoenix files from Dave Deibert and Thia James

badam@postmedia.com

 

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