DETROIT – The family of a teen who died after drowning in the Mumford High School pool last week claims the school district hasn’t given them any answers.
Da’Sean Blanding was found unresponsive in the pool on Feb. 24. Detroit police said the death is being investigated as an “accidental drowning,” even though the district is calling this a “possible criminal incident."
The family’s attorney, Johnny Hawkins, spoke on behalf of Blanding’s mother Tuesday.
“She’s dazzled. She doesn’t know why this happened the way it did,” Hawkins said. “What she wants is disclosure. Tell her what has happened. How it happened, something because they know nothing."
Detroit police said the investigation is ongoing.
“We’ve interviewed probably 8-10 individuals, including staff from the school. Early indication from talking to the medical examiner in this investigation is that we believe it is a drowning however now it’s being treated as accidental,” said Deputy Chief Marlon Wilson, with Detroit police.
Blanding’s family says the swim instructor wasn’t around when he drowned. The teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave.
“She (Blanding’s mother) does not want nor believe that it’s fair that this teacher has been placed on administrative leave but with pay. That makes no sense to her,” Hawkins said.
It was also noted that it is believed Blanding had a learning disability and was constantly bullied.
The district has sent us this statement in regards to the attorney’s claims:
“Unfortunately, the attorney is not sharing factual information and is making a horrific situation worse. DPSCD’s Superintendent, Dr. Nikolai Vitti, reached out to De’Sean’s mother via phone on the evening of the incident, Monday, February 24. They spoke for over 5 minutes. Dr. Vitti then arranged a meeting with the District’s Chief of Police, Ralph Godbee at the request of De’Sean’s mother the next day. Chief Godbee met with the family on the morning of Tuesday, February 25. The meeting included De’Sean’s mother, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, and step-father. They met at the district’s Command Center followed by a visit to Mumford. The family was briefed on the status of the investigation. Since that meeting we have not heard from the family. The district has coordinated resources to pay for De’Sean’s funeral. The Detroit Police Department and the Medical Examiner are taking the lead on this case because it is a possible criminal incident. The district has placed the swim teacher on administrative leave with pay, and is actively investigating the incident from an employee perspective. The district must follow due process but the highest standard of disciplinary action will be taken by the Superintendent as a recommendation to the School Board based on the conclusion of the district’s employee investigation. This was shared with De’Sean’s mother when she spoke with the Superintendent on the 24th.”