Parents of drowned Sask. boy sue school board

Saskatchewan children’s advocate said the boy’s death was preventable

Ahmedsadiq Hussein Elmmi is shown in this undated family handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

The parents of a five-year-old autistic boy who died after falling into a pond on his first full day of school are suing the Saskatoon school board and the city alleging negligence cost them the light of their lives.

Ahmedsadiq Hussein Elmmi died after falling into a storm pond near Ecole Dundonald School on Sept. 11 after morning recess.

“I lost my heart,” his mother Fathiya Nour told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. “My heart is broken.”

The boy’s death has been hardest on the couple’s three-year-old who still asks after his older brother.

“He was asking me this morning and he said, ‘Bring my brother back, daddy. I want my brother,’” said Hussein Elmmi, the boy’s father.

“The house misses him. He was a really lovely boy. I feel like I had everything when I’m with him.”

A statement of claim filed on behalf of the boy’s parents alleges his death was preventable and the school board was negligent. The lawsuit also alleges negligence on the part of the city for not properly fencing off the pond.

“The defendants, and Saskatoon Public Schools in particular, have shown outrageous disregard for safety and, in particular, the safety of Ahmed, special-needs children like Ahmed, and children in general,” the statement of claim reads.

“Ahmed’s behaviour of wandering/running is common in autistic children. But it is foreseeable that any child facing stress from attending a new school may decide to leave an unfenced playground and come to harm.”

No statement of defence has been filed and the claims have not been proven in court. In an emailed statement, the City of Saskatoon said it was reviewing the statement of claim.

The coroner’s office said last week the death was accidental and no inquest will be held.

Elmmi said his son’s death was no accident.

“We did everything we were supposed to do,” he said. “They told us … he would be in good hands. And this is the result.”

Saskatchewan children’s advocate Corey O’Soup also investigated the boy’s death and said it was preventable.

In a report tabled in the legislature Tuesday, O’Soup said having an education assistant hold the boy’s hand at recess was only part of the school’s safety plan. Ahmedsadiq was also supposed to be wearing a red vest and his special needs were supposed to be well-known.

“Having those two other elements with the safety plan in place could have caused this not to happen,” O’Soup said.

The advocate made several recommendations to the school board and Education Department including better communication and safety plans for high-needs children.

Education Minister Gordon Wyant said his department has accepted all of the advocate’s recommendations and is working on implementing them.

A report by Saskatoon Public Schools released last week said Ahmedsadiq was fascinated by water and the school had worked hard in the months before his arrival to ensure his safety.

“The school felt confident that they had a solid safety plan in place for Ahmed’s arrival at school,” the report said. “Unfortunately, in the end the plan was not executed to perfection.”

An education assistant assigned to the boy held his hand at recess, the report said. Twice, Ahmedsadiq tried to free himself. On the third try, the report said, he lined up for the slide and recess supervisors lost track of him.

It all happened within five minutes, the report estimated.

Earlier this month, a city committee proposed a wrought-iron fence be built to separate Ecole Dundonald School from the park where the pond is located. City council is to consider the recommendation next month.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley soapbox derby draws more competitors

41st annual Soap Box Derby put on by the Langley Evangelical Free Church

Crime Briefs: Stolen church tent, loan fraud and missing chipper

Langley RCMP release photos of suspects and stolen goods

Langley Blaze alum makes MLB debut

‘I have been waiting my whole life for this’ says Maple Ridge’s Tyler O’Neill

It’s going to be a furry tail foot race Sunday, April 29

Langley animal shelter hosts walk/run at Derby Reach Park

Blaze split with A’s in Kelowna

Langley 18U team goes 2-2 to open season despite missing five key players to Team Canada obligations

UPDATED: 9 killed, 16 injured after van hits pedestrians in Toronto

Toronto police say nine people have died and 16 are injured

As Osoyoos Indian Band flourishes, so too does Okanagan’s wine tourism

Indigenous practices have driven growth of South Okanagan’s wine history and agricultural influence

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Protesters argue both sides of B.C.’s SOGI curriculum at teachers’ union office

The sexual orientation and gender identity program was launched as a pilot project last year

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Most Read