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Family of boy who drowned in St. Louis Park school pool files suit

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The family of the 12-year-old boy who drowned in a St. Louis Park school pool has filed a personal injury lawsuit, the Star Tribune reports.

Abdullahi Charif was found in the deep end of the pool Feb. 27. He died a few days later. Investigators have said there had been rough play by students in the pool prior to the drowning.

No criminal charges were filed in the death of the seventh-grader. The family of the boy last month expressed frustration that no one had been able to adequately explain how a boy who did not know how to swim was allowed to sink to the bottom of the deep end.

The suit targets the school district and the St. Louis Park Middle School gym teacher who was supervising the class. The lawsuit alleges the teacher was distracted by an iPad instead of keeping a close eye on the students, the Star Tribune notes. The suit also claims the teacher James Bigot did not notice that the boy was at the bottom of the pool for several minutes.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages as well as a new district policy that would require the presence of at least one other qualified educator, swimming coach or lifeguard when students are in the pool, in addition to the person monitoring the class, the Star Tribune reports.

State lawmakers this session have considered a bill that, if approved, would become the first law in the nation to require swimming lessons for children in public schools. Minnesota law does not require lifeguards at most public pools, including those in schools, MPR noted.

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