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May 23, 2019
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Khaleejtimes International

UAE school staff convicted after student drowned in pool

The court ordered the school to pay Dh140,000 in blood money.

The Sharjah Court of Misdemeanors convicted a private school and two of its members of negligence after an Emirati boy drowned in the school’s pool last November.

The court ordered the Australian International School in Sharjah to pay Dh140,000 in blood money while its two convicted staff members were fined Dh5000 each and ordered to pay Dh30,000 in blood money each.

Prosecutors said that the school failed to provide precautionary safety measures by leaving the 100-meter long swimming pool open and lacking barriers to prevent children from gaining unsupervised access.

The school, represented by its Emirati owner, 53, was charged with the criminal responsibility of its employees’ actions.

Five of its members, a Lebanese swimming instructor, 36, his Italian assistant, 44, an Australian class teacher, 26, a Filipino shadow teacher, 37, and a Filipino bus attendant, 43, were all charged with negligence. They all denied the charges against them.

The court ruled that a 26-year-old Australian teacher, and the rest of the defendants, were not guilty.

“As per law, there was no direct link between my client’s actions and the tragic death of the boy, besides the documents only proved that she flagged the safety problem near the pool before the incident,” said Legal Consultant Hasan Elhais from Al Rowad Advocates, who represent the Australian teacher.

Records stated that 23 children were in the swimming pool that morning and the boy who secretly returned to the pool was found dead by his shadow teacher at nearly 10:15am on November 14 last year.

Staff members and the swimming instructor were alerted by the teacher’s scream. The child was rushed to Al Qasimi hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:07am.

The child’s father, 37, said that he holds the school responsible for his son’s death. He said that his three other children go to the same school.

Amira Agarib

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