Report: Wenatchee Student Who Drowned Missed Swimming Assessment - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Report: Wenatchee Student Who Drowned Had Been Teased

From WenatcheeWorld.com — A missed swimming assessment may have played a role in the Nov. 17th drowning of Wenatchee High School freshman Antonio Reyes.

Physical education teacher Ed Knaggs told police that "during the first week of swimming class, they do an assessment of each student's swimming abilities but Reyes did not swim the first week and missed this assessment while sitting on the bleachers in the pool area instead."

Sgt. John Kruse then states in his report: "Coach Knaggs seemed to be unaware that Antonio Reyes did not know how to swim." Knaggs was interviewed shortly after the body was found and, according to a report by Officer Brian Miller, "appeared to be highly stressed and possibly overwhelmed with the situation."

The report further states that, in the swim assessment, "a zero was placed in the wrong student's slot." The report did not elaborate.

The assessment was done the week before Reyes drowned. The physical education class was to be in the pool once a week.

The police report was released Monday to The Wenatchee World after a state Public Records Act request.

Last week, Reyes' family filed a $15 million claim against the Wenatchee School District, alleging criminal negligence and malfeasance by school officials. The family's attorney, Sim Osborn, said last week that "We believe that school officials failed even the most basic duties regarding Antonio's safety and well-being."

Osborn said Monday evening that he had not yet seen the police report.

Wenatchee School District officials have declined to comment on the drowning since the claim was filed. Knaggs, who is on administrative leave, could not be reached to comment. The district is conducting its own investigation.

Reyes may have been underwater for more than 40 minutes before being discovered, according to the police report. Reyes was found at 10:53 a.m., Kruse said. Reyes' class ended at 10:09 a.m.

Students in an incoming class found Reyes in the bottom of the pool in the deep end. Foul play is not suspected, Kruse said.

The police report did not indicate whether a swimming assessment was done on Reyes the day he drowned, which was the first time he was in the pool. It also did not indicate why Reyes sat on the bleachers during the first week of swimming class but, at one point, it states that Reyes was "not dressed for swimming."

His family has said he did not know how to swim.

Also in the police report:

Two students recalled some teasing directed at those students who sat out on the bleachers.

The report notes a comment from a male student: "There were three other boys that did not swim that day, for whatever reason, and he remembers other kids in the class making fun of all the kids that did not swim that day."

Another student was quoted in the report as saying that Reyes was heard to say that he did not know how to swim "and was being kidded about it."

After the physical education class in the pool ended Nov. 17, Reyes was supposed to be with Knaggs in the gym until the next class period. The report notes that Reyes "had skipped this session before so Coach Knaggs did not appear overly concerned by his absence."

After interviewing students in Reyes' swim class, police determined that some students remember seeing Reyes during the first activity of the class, which involved treading water as a group. The next activity was joining hands and creating a current in the water, and the third activity was water polo. No one remembered him being there for water polo.

None of the students remember Reyes being in obvious distress, but one student told officers that Reyes tried to grab at him during the treading water portion of the class. The student said Reyes came back up out of the water after that.

Knaggs told investigators that he allowed students to tread water near the shallow end if they were uncomfortable. One student quoted in the police report, however, stated that he and Reyes "had entered the pool at the shallow end and were told by Mr. Knaggs to move further toward the deep end to practice treading water."

After class, Knaggs allowed three students to jump off the diving board but none of those students was Reyes.

Knaggs told investigators that he looked at the pool area at the end of class but did not see anyone left in the water.

"Knaggs said he did one more scan of the pool area just before going into the locker room. Knaggs said this was a routine thing he did to make sure no one was left," Detective Ryan Weatherman states in his section of the report. Students who found Reyes' body in the pool said it was on a black line at the bottom of the pool.

Emily McLean, the teacher whose class found Reyes in the pool, told investigators that she did not see him immediately "because he was lying on his side, right on one of the black racing lines, and his dark hair and dark shorts blended in with it."

Knaggs did not have a teaching assistant for Reyes' class.

Knaggs was unsure how many students were in his class. "He thought it was 32 or 30," according to a section written by Detective Jeff Ward. Later, the report states that 26 students were in the class that day. There were four students absent.

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