Attorney: Family of boy pulled from pool filled with grief, mistrust

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The lawyer for the family of a 12-year-old boy who died after he was pulled from the pool at St. Louis Park Middle School Thursday claims the only teacher present for the gym class was not certified as a lifeguard, with as many as 30 seventh-graders in the session, KARE 11 reports.

The station says the attorney representing Abdullahi Charif's family called on anyone with information about the incident to contact the St. Louis Park Police Department.

A teacher pulled an unresponsive Charif from the pool just before 9 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27.

The Star Tribune says Charif was first taken to Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital and then transferred to St. Paul Children’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Saturday. Initially, at least one Twin Cities media outlet report indicated the boy had died on Friday night.

Police said the incident happened after a physical education class had wrapped up. According to KARE, the family's lawyer Fred Pritzker says that Charif did not know how to swim, and the boy's body was not discovered until after all of the other students left the pool and returned to the locker room.

"He suffered irreparable brain damage and was pronounced dead two days later," Pritzker said.

The Star Tribune says Pritzker wants to know how the school could allow a child who couldn't swim to go to the deep end of the pool. He also said the family doesn't understand how no one could not notice a drowning.

"This lack of information only compounds the family’s grief and mistrust," Pritzker said.

St. Louis Park Public Schools Superintendent Rob Metz said in a statement that, in addition to a police investigation, "we are conducting a full internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."

"The St. Louis Park Public Schools, and the entire community, continue to mourn the passing of seventh grader Abdullahi Charif," Metz said. "Counselors remain on site for students, faculty and staff, and the health and safety of our students continues to be a top priority for all of us at St. Louis Park Public Schools."

Metz also said the teacher on duty during the time of the incident will remain on paid administrative leave, and the middle school pool will remain closed during the investigation.

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