Florida Swim Instructor Charged After 3-Year-Old Nearly Drowns Under Her Watch

Tiffany Meier
By Tiffany Meier
June 2, 2019USshare
Florida Swim Instructor Charged After 3-Year-Old Nearly Drowns Under Her Watch
A boy plunges into a swimming pool in Belgrade on July 17, 2007. (Andrej Isakovic/AFP/Getty Images)

A Florida swim instructor has been charged with negligence after a 3-year-old boy under her care went underwater for over two minutes, nearly drowning.

Despite four swim instructors being present at the time, the 3-year-old boy who couldn’t swim almost died, according to the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the family, reported Click Orlando.

Attorney Larry Gonzalez filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family against 34-year-old Jessica Kretz with Park Maitland School.

“This is a small pool and they are not paying attention at all. Completely dropped the ball,” Gonzalez said.

The school’s pool measures 21-feet in width and 34-feet in length, according to the Miami Herald.

Gonzalez claims the school was negligent and the swim instructors were not paying attention on July 9 last year as the boy was left struggling underwater for over two minutes, according to Click Orlando.

“There’s just a complete lack of supervision for two full minutes. They don’t even glance back to check on him. It’s shocking, really,” he said.

In surveillance footage obtained by News 6, the boy can be seen with a flotation device by the pool. However, when he entered the pool with the flotation device, it slipped out from under him and the boy disappeared below the water. The video showed the boy struggling for almost two minutes before going still.

Eventually, Kretz noticed the boy and pulled him out.

“This entire time, the teachers who are supposed to be watching him are on the other side of the pool,” Gonzalez said.

On May 24, Maitland police arrested Kretz and charged her with child neglect “causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or disability,” according to Orange County Circuit Court records obtained by the Miami Herald.

According to the Maitland police incident report obtained by Click Orlando, Kretz knew the boy couldn’t swim.

Kretz pleaded not guilty and was released from Maitland Jail after paying $5,000 bail, according to the Miami Herald.

According to the report, Kretz was ordered not to have any contact with the boy’s family. She has also been prohibited from working or volunteering with children under the age of 18. Additionally, Kretz cannot work as a swim instructor, swim coach, or lifeguard.

“Kretz was a very qualified swim instructor and was employed with the school for more than four years,” a spokesperson for Park Maitland School told Click Orlando.

Last November, the boy’s parents filed a negligence lawsuit against the Park Maitland School. While the lawsuit didn’t name Kretz directly, it alleged that the school failed to properly train its employees in supervising children.

Following the incident, the boy’s parents claimed that their son “sustained bodily injury, pain, and suffering of both a physical and mental nature, [and] disability,” among other ailments, as well as a “loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life,” according to the Miami Herald.

They are also suing for hospital expenses.

Gonzalez added that the boy is still struggling with health issues after the near drowning incident, according to Click Orlando.

“He is continuing to see doctors. He has continued to seek care because he is still having significant issues, both cognitive, physical and mental issues to this day, and we’re almost a year later,” he said.

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