Teacher charged with East Detroit HS student's drowning

Jonathon Sails pleads not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charge

By Dave Bartkowiak Jr. , Halston Herrera - Digital news editor


A substitute teacher was arraigned Wednesday morning on a charge in connection with the drowning of a student at East Detroit High School.

Freshman KeAir Swift, 14, died in a hospital after being pulled from the school pool on Nov. 8. He was unresponsive when he was found in the water and was placed on life support for a few days.

Prosecutor Eric Smith tells Local 4 Jonathon Sails was monitoring a swim class but wasn't certified as a swim teacher.

When students brought it to Sails attention that Swift had gone under, Smith said Sails went into the locker room to change into his bathing suit before jumping into the pool.

A vice principal also jumped in to help, Smith said.

Smith said Sails was the substitute in the class because the previous instructor's certification had expired.

"I hope whoever is responsible for it suffers as much as I am suffering," said KeAir's mother, Lakisha Smith.

Sails pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. His bond was set at $25,000. He's also not allowed to teach anywhere he is not certified.

His preliminary exam is scheduled for March 19.

Read back: East Detroit student dies after being pulled from pool

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