DETROIT – The mother of a 15-year-old Detroit boy who drowned in the Mumford High School pool said her son was bullied and is calling for a law to be changed.
Now, Christina Blanding wants Michigan lawmakers to step in so another family doesn’t go through a similar tragedy. She buried her son, Da’Sean, on Saturday and is still searching for answers about what happened.
“He stayed to himself,” Blanding said. “So I don’t understand -- why did this happen? Why did they do this to my baby? Why did the teacher allow this to happen to my baby?”
Da’Sean drowned in the school pool Feb. 24. He was pulled from the water unresponsive and died later that day in the hospital.
During a press conference Monday, the Blanding family attorney, Johnny Hawkins, said Da’Sean, who was learning disabled, was bullied in school.
“While simultaneously witnessing Da’Sean being the victim of bullying and unwanted horseplay in a well-established and commonly known hostile learning environment -- that being Mumford High School itself,” Hawkins said.
Blanding said her son was also bullied at Henry Ford High School in Detroit. She said she is on record reporting that information to the Detroit Public Schools Community District.
“They said he was going to kill him, that he knew what class he was in, that he knew the teacher’s name," Blanding said. “I reported it to (DPSCD).”
On Monday, the district declined an on-camera interview with Local 4, but released a statement that says the district is committed to finding out the truth about what happened and supporting the family. School officials refute the bully claims.
“Our preliminary review of this incident does not indicate that Da’Sean’s death was the cause of gang activity, his learning disability or bullying, as defined as consistent and persistent harassment,” the statement says. “The district and the school, at this point, has no record of the latter.”