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Curry lawsuit: Family of teen who drowned during PE class settles suit with SRVUSD for $8 million

Attorney says family relieved litigation is over, pain of lost child will never end

Nearly two years after the on-campus drowning death of San Ramon Valley High School freshman Ben Curry, the family of the teenager is set to receive $8 million from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District after an agreement was reached to settle the Currys' pending lawsuit.

The agreement, which came to light after a notice of settlement was filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Monday, also calls for the wrongful-death case to be dismissed with the district admitting no liability for Curry's death.

Curry drowned during his physical education class -- which consisted of one teacher monitoring 57 students -- in the Danville school's pool on May 8, 2018, after slipping under the water unnoticed and becoming unresponsive.

Curry would not be found submerged in the pool until the start of the next class, after the school's lunch period. The 15-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital that afternoon.

"They are relieved that the litigation is over and the pain of their loss will never end," Curry family attorney Andrew Schwartz, of Walnut Creek-based firm Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, told the Weekly on Monday.

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Schwartz added that Aaron Becker, the PE teacher in charge of Curry's class, had previously filed a motion seeking to dismiss punitive damage claims against himself, which was granted by Judge Steven K. Austin on Jan. 30.

The settlement, which resolves the entire lawsuit, was reached days before the case was set to head to trial on Feb. 18.

"Everyone recognizes that this was a tragic accident. The district has expressed its sincere condolences to the parents for their loss and the district has been trying to resolve this matter informally even before a lawsuit was filed," said Mark Davis, an attorney representing the SRVUSD. "At least from our standpoint we are glad that the parties could reach an amicable settlement (before the) emotional distress and expense associated with trial."

Davis added that the settlement will be paid using funds from the SRVUSD and a joint powers authority insurance pool that SRVUSD is a part of with other school districts.

No other details about the settlement have been released thus far. The full terms have not been filed in court to date.

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Becker's attorney had not responded to a request for comment as of press time Wednesday.

Ben's parents, Karen and Thomas Curry, filed a lawsuit with the Contra Costa County Superior Court in November 2018, claiming negligence and willful misconduct by SRVUSD and Becker -- who remains employed as a teacher and varsity football head coach -- led directly to the boy's death.

"Plaintiffs believe that the SRVUSD and its employees owed a duty of care to Benjamin Curry to supervise, protect, assist and control the safety of Benjamin, and they failed to do so," Schwartz wrote in the original lawsuit.

In his ruling to dismiss punitive damages against Becker, Judge Austin wrote on Jan. 30 that he found Becker did not act with an evil motive, as would need to be proven for punitive damages.

"What demonstrates a defendant's required evil motive is not just that he mistakenly causes injury, but that he mistakenly causes injury repeatedly and does not care. That is not what occurred here," Austin wrote in granting Becker's dismissal motion.

"There may be cases of nondeliberate injury in which the knowledge of injury is so established, the degree so severe, and its likelihood so certain that punitive damages would be proper without repeated instances of prior injury, but this is not one of them," the judge said, adding:

"To permit punitive damages on the evidence here would blur the line between the more typical case of mere negligence and the much rarer case of conscious disregard and despicable conduct, where punitive damages are permitted."

After their investigation in spring 2018, Danville police recommended no criminal charges be filed against Becker or anyone else, stating that detectives found no signs of foul play or criminal neglect -- confirming findings from the county coroner's autopsy report that the death was accidental and not self-inflicted as some initial reports falsely suggested.

"Although the decedent suffered from depression, there is no indication the decedent intended to drown himself," according to the coroner's report, signed May 31, 2018. "Based on the investigation there is no evidence of foul play, and no indication that the decedent intended to harm himself."

SRVUSD Superintendent Rick Schmitt publicly apologized to the Curry family for the freshman's death on campus in a statement released on Nov. 2, 2018.

"This event was and will remain a tragedy in our hearts and minds forever. The District sincerely apologizes to the Curry family and all community members," Schmitt said. "There are no words to describe the collective sorrow following the loss of Ben."

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Curry lawsuit: Family of teen who drowned during PE class settles suit with SRVUSD for $8 million

Attorney says family relieved litigation is over, pain of lost child will never end

by /

Uploaded: Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 5:15 pm
Updated: Tue, Feb 11, 2020, 2:53 pm

Nearly two years after the on-campus drowning death of San Ramon Valley High School freshman Ben Curry, the family of the teenager is set to receive $8 million from the San Ramon Valley Unified School District after an agreement was reached to settle the Currys' pending lawsuit.

The agreement, which came to light after a notice of settlement was filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court on Monday, also calls for the wrongful-death case to be dismissed with the district admitting no liability for Curry's death.

Curry drowned during his physical education class -- which consisted of one teacher monitoring 57 students -- in the Danville school's pool on May 8, 2018, after slipping under the water unnoticed and becoming unresponsive.

Curry would not be found submerged in the pool until the start of the next class, after the school's lunch period. The 15-year-old boy was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital that afternoon.

"They are relieved that the litigation is over and the pain of their loss will never end," Curry family attorney Andrew Schwartz, of Walnut Creek-based firm Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, told the Weekly on Monday.

Schwartz added that Aaron Becker, the PE teacher in charge of Curry's class, had previously filed a motion seeking to dismiss punitive damage claims against himself, which was granted by Judge Steven K. Austin on Jan. 30.

The settlement, which resolves the entire lawsuit, was reached days before the case was set to head to trial on Feb. 18.

"Everyone recognizes that this was a tragic accident. The district has expressed its sincere condolences to the parents for their loss and the district has been trying to resolve this matter informally even before a lawsuit was filed," said Mark Davis, an attorney representing the SRVUSD. "At least from our standpoint we are glad that the parties could reach an amicable settlement (before the) emotional distress and expense associated with trial."

Davis added that the settlement will be paid using funds from the SRVUSD and a joint powers authority insurance pool that SRVUSD is a part of with other school districts.

No other details about the settlement have been released thus far. The full terms have not been filed in court to date.

Becker's attorney had not responded to a request for comment as of press time Wednesday.

Ben's parents, Karen and Thomas Curry, filed a lawsuit with the Contra Costa County Superior Court in November 2018, claiming negligence and willful misconduct by SRVUSD and Becker -- who remains employed as a teacher and varsity football head coach -- led directly to the boy's death.

"Plaintiffs believe that the SRVUSD and its employees owed a duty of care to Benjamin Curry to supervise, protect, assist and control the safety of Benjamin, and they failed to do so," Schwartz wrote in the original lawsuit.

In his ruling to dismiss punitive damages against Becker, Judge Austin wrote on Jan. 30 that he found Becker did not act with an evil motive, as would need to be proven for punitive damages.

"What demonstrates a defendant's required evil motive is not just that he mistakenly causes injury, but that he mistakenly causes injury repeatedly and does not care. That is not what occurred here," Austin wrote in granting Becker's dismissal motion.

"There may be cases of nondeliberate injury in which the knowledge of injury is so established, the degree so severe, and its likelihood so certain that punitive damages would be proper without repeated instances of prior injury, but this is not one of them," the judge said, adding:

"To permit punitive damages on the evidence here would blur the line between the more typical case of mere negligence and the much rarer case of conscious disregard and despicable conduct, where punitive damages are permitted."

After their investigation in spring 2018, Danville police recommended no criminal charges be filed against Becker or anyone else, stating that detectives found no signs of foul play or criminal neglect -- confirming findings from the county coroner's autopsy report that the death was accidental and not self-inflicted as some initial reports falsely suggested.

"Although the decedent suffered from depression, there is no indication the decedent intended to drown himself," according to the coroner's report, signed May 31, 2018. "Based on the investigation there is no evidence of foul play, and no indication that the decedent intended to harm himself."

SRVUSD Superintendent Rick Schmitt publicly apologized to the Curry family for the freshman's death on campus in a statement released on Nov. 2, 2018.

"This event was and will remain a tragedy in our hearts and minds forever. The District sincerely apologizes to the Curry family and all community members," Schmitt said. "There are no words to describe the collective sorrow following the loss of Ben."

Comments

Grandparent
Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 7:19 pm
Grandparent , Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 7:19 pm
196 people like this

So sad for the Curry family. I have only one comment. Is this finally enough to terminate Rick Schmitt and Aaron Becker?
What a sad community we have become to allow these 2 individuals to have anything to do with out kids.


Parent in the Know
Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:43 pm
Parent in the Know, Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:43 pm
5 people like this

Perhaps grandparents with no knowledge of the facts should not be commenting on the story. The Currys settled this case because they want the litigation to be over. Maybe you should respect that and just stop.


Nick
San Ramon
on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm
Nick, San Ramon
on Feb 10, 2020 at 8:45 pm
26 people like this

No amount of money will bring your child back.


Mike Agustin
Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 10:48 pm
Mike Agustin , Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 10:48 pm
2 people like this

This may not have helped in this case but pool “fire alarms” should be installed at every public/HOA pool. Just pull an alarm to activate a response from a SRVFD ambulance. Cell phones die, get wet or over heat at pools, a pull alarm would automatically call paramedics to the pool in an emergency.


EdAdmin
Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 11:28 pm
EdAdmin, Danville
on Feb 10, 2020 at 11:28 pm
99 people like this

Curry family, I think of Ben often and I hope you feel the support of the community.

Every board member should step down. This has been handled horribly from the start... beginning with the Cal High teacher that warned them 6 months prior to this happening.


mrszalewski2
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 6:47 am
mrszalewski2, Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 6:47 am
77 people like this

This is one of the worst preventable tragedies in the school’s history. May Ben Rest In Peace and his story not be forgotten.


Justice for Ben
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:11 am
Justice for Ben, Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:11 am
112 people like this

I am glad they are getting something, even though nothing will bring Ben Back, but the fact that Aaron Becker still working at our school is awful. This guys is responsible for Ben's death. And he is still acting like nothing happened. I hope some day we get a complete justice and Becker and the superintendent finally have some dignity and step down.


Pwolfsohn
San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:26 am
Pwolfsohn , San Ramon
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:26 am
29 people like this

Now that the litigation is over I’m wondering if the details of what happened so that this poor boy drowned, can be made public. How does a child who is in a class simply manage to slip to the bottom of the pool and be unnoticed by other students or teachers. What kind of a policy or procedure was not implemented in order for this horrible tragedy to happen. I am very curious about those details.


Limo
another community
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:57 am
Limo, another community
on Feb 11, 2020 at 8:57 am
1 person likes this

Heard Aaron Becker is leading the Teachers strike for more pay!( portion removed)


Justice for Ben
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 9:15 am
Justice for Ben, Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 9:15 am
22 people like this

Limo, no sure how the money Ben's parents is getting, (which is being paid by the insurance), has anything to do with the teacher's raise. In that case, we should talk about the superintendent's salary, which is over $450.000. A superintendent that is also responsible for Ben's death. Since he knew what had happened the prior year at CalHigh where a student almost died during PE class. And still he ignored the issue. Also, when they asked him about the apology that was sent to Ben's family. He just responded that he didn't know anything about it, because he didn't write it, even though he signed it.


NotHappy
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:23 am
NotHappy, Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 11:23 am
64 people like this

$8 mill will never bring back Ben BUT justice can be had by dismissing Becker.


Lauren M.
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Lauren M., Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:29 pm
128 people like this

I don’t see how the police can do a “thorough” investigation, have Becker tell them he walked the perimeter of the pool and did a headcount (when he obviously didn’t and it’s on camera that he didn’t.), note that Ben’s shoes/towel/phone were the ONLY things left on the front of the bleachers, and not conclude that there was criminal negligence. Or how the Judge couldn’t conclude that punitive damages should come into play.

So let’s all pretend Becker did in fact walk the pool’s entire perimeter before exiting to go get lunch while Ben drowned and died, he had to have seen his shoes/towel/phone and then what? Decided to ignore them? You counted heads before going into the locker room and there was a person missing from your class? You decided to ignore that too? That’s beyond despicable to me.

And now let’s say what actually happened. Which is that Becker did not walk the entire perimeter of the pool let alone look around the perimeter to see Ben’s belongings on the bleachers, did not do a headcount, was on his phone during the tread drill, and left for a long lunch while Ben drowned and died...
Please tell me which part of Becker’s truth or the actual truth isn’t despicable to you.

RIP Ben Curry. You deserve better and all our kids deserve better.


NotHappy
Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 4:39 pm
NotHappy, Danville
on Feb 11, 2020 at 4:39 pm
86 people like this

It is clear the superintendent has simply put head in the sand and hope this will all go away. I don't think it will nor should it. I would not be surprised if there is a groundswell for Becker's dismissal along with the superintendent.


Sarah
San Ramon
on Feb 12, 2020 at 7:32 am
Sarah, San Ramon
on Feb 12, 2020 at 7:32 am
11 people like this

Sorry for the Curry's loss.

In my opinion - teachers and administrators should be held financially liable as well, along with losing their work/job.

We should now get rid of any sports from our school - football, swimming, skiing and everything else that provides any means of liability to the tax payer and potential injury to children. All unnecessary and expensive to maintain.



Joe
Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:39 am
Joe, Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:39 am
228 people like this

The SRVUSD has now settled this case. Their conditions, we pay the Curry family 8 Million dollars of taxpayer money and the wrongful death suit be dismissed with the district admitting no liability for Curry's death. Aaron Becker the teacher who was supervising the swim class is not responsible or accountable for the safety of students while under his supervision. The message to all parents and students, SRVUSD and their employees are not to be held liable, accountable or responsible for the safety of students while under the supervision of SRVUSD employees. What a sad day for the community we live in.


Carol
Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:49 am
Carol, Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 9:49 am
5 people like this

Maybe people who really know nothing about the incident or the people involved or the history of the school programs should keep their hatful comments to themselves.


Pwolfsohn
San Ramon
on Feb 12, 2020 at 4:56 pm
Pwolfsohn , San Ramon
on Feb 12, 2020 at 4:56 pm
79 people like this

I do not believe that the teacher did the things that he said he did. Walking around the pool to be sure everything was safe being sure none of his belongings were left on the area around none of those things were done and as a result Ben died. I believe the teacher should be fired. He’s a liar and he’s at least partly responsible for this boys death, in my opinion. !!


Mom
Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm
Mom, Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:46 pm
115 people like this

@parent in the know, what do you possibly know because I know the real story. How dare you!!! You are clueless.


Mom
Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:50 pm
Mom, Danville
on Feb 12, 2020 at 5:50 pm
180 people like this

@carol, there are no hateful comments carol. The damage is done and people are hurting deeply. This case was absolutely horrendous in how it was handled.


Ted
Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 8:35 am
Ted, Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 8:35 am
184 people like this

Mr Keith Rogenski, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources, at SRVUSD has a history of coverups. I know that he came to Aaron Becker defense within days of the drowning. Which is a repeat of another lawsuit which resulted in a settlement of 8 million dollars and a teacher found guilty of child abuse. The teacher's union did not even get involved in protecting Aaron Becker it is the administration of SRVUSD. SRVUSD administration is in denial of all the damming evidence that Aaron Becker failed in his duty to insure the safety of our children.

A petition was created by a parent that is worried that their concerns will not be addressed by Rogenski with a history of ignoring the evidence of child abuse in regard to their own concerns about abuse of special need children in the district. Web Link

Rogenski is a liability to the safety of our children and needs to be fired ASAP. SRVUSD is rewarding his reputation with salary of $217,273.00 vs $129,009.25 that Dublin school district was paying him. His pay history shows the fleeing from Antioch Unified after being named in the child abuse lawsuit with a salary of $151,658.71 to a salary of $129,009.25. SRVUSD offered a man with a history of covering up child abuse a job a salary of $208,414.00. The SRVUSD school board should be ashamed of not vetting Rogenski's salary history.


Nick
San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2020 at 8:46 am
Nick, San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2020 at 8:46 am
9 people like this

Joe - the money comes from the insurance company, not taxpayers. That's what insurance companies are for.


NotHappy
Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:09 am
NotHappy, Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:09 am
182 people like this

Nick the money, less a sizable deductible the taxpayers will pay, and the increased rates because of this incident for securing coverage for now and the future, does come from the taxpayers. Get informed


Ted
Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:14 am
Ted, Danville
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:14 am
189 people like this

Nick,
The money comes from the "The Northern California Regional Liability Excess Fund (NCR) is a non-profit member-owned and operated Joint Powers Authority (JPA) providing cost-effective risk management services to California public schools" which is funded by tax dollars this is not a private insurance company. Follow the money it is tax dollars the districts like to call it insurance money but in reality it is tax dollars from all districts that are members of the pool.


Nick
San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:12 pm
Nick, San Ramon
on Feb 13, 2020 at 9:12 pm
6 people like this

The school district uses some tax money to pay for insurance, and generally most if not all of the settlement will come from the insurance policy.

Naturally, the insurance policy will cost more in the future. But taxpayer dollars are paying for the policy whether someone is sued or not. Insurance companies are sued for millions of dollars daily, and I don't remember having to pay 8 million more just because someone sued State Farm, Farmers or whomever my insurance carrier is.

Tax dollars are paying for the POLICY, NOT THE 8 MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT. There's a big difference.


InsuranceAgent
Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:10 am
InsuranceAgent, Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 6:10 am
174 people like this

Nick,
You need to read the comment by 'Ted'. It all tax dollars no private insurance is used. SRVUSD pays 2.1 million dollars each year into the pool. The pool is managed by a law firm. The law firm is "Keenan & Associates . 2355 Crenshaw Blvd. Suite 200 . Torrance, CA 90501". After the law firm takes your tax dollars to manage the pool of money it hires lawyers and settles claims against the school districts. Private insurance companies did not like the high risk associated with school districts this forced the school to pool tax money together.

I am sure SRVUSD would love to hide the fact that they have already seen a jump in their required amount into the pool from 1.9 million to 2.1 million dollars from 2018-2019. With this settlement will probably see another large increase .


Nick
San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:18 am
Nick, San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:18 am
9 people like this

I thought it was an excess liability policy, which is not uncommon. Maybe schools need to get their act together, and stop the lawsuits. That's the ONLY thing that will save the taxpayers.


Nick
San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:41 am
Nick, San Ramon
on Feb 14, 2020 at 9:41 am
9 people like this

Keenan and Associates is NOT A LAW FIRM. It's a privately held INSURANCE BROKER. Google this INSURANCE BROKER yourself.


Bill
Diablo
on Feb 14, 2020 at 10:16 am
Bill, Diablo
on Feb 14, 2020 at 10:16 am
8 people like this

Keenan & Assoc. in Torrance is an insurance company. Don't insurance companies deal with ins. policies? Keenan & Assoc. does deal with schools, school employees, etc. I've never heard of large settlements that didn't come from an insurance policy. They have a "one star" rating on Yelp. 7 reviews - all one stars. Great company.


Mom
Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 1:12 pm
Mom, Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 1:12 pm
124 people like this

The entire school board needs to be recalled. Rick Schmitt needs to go. SRVUSD has never been so upside down. The children in this community are our future we need to do better!!We need leadership. We need to replace these incapable phonies and crooks.


Jennifer
Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:53 pm
Jennifer, Danville
on Feb 14, 2020 at 5:53 pm
19 people like this

The entire school board does need to be recalled. And I agree that no amount of $$$ will bring your son back. Since the firm handling this is an insurance company, I think the $8 million came from an insurance policy. Duh.


grateful4
Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:12 am
grateful4, Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:12 am
159 people like this

Curry family, you don't have what you want, which is for this nightmare to have never even happened.

Now that this stage is over, it is my hope that you can focus on sharing the facts, truth and details with the community that led to this preventable tragedy, so that no other family must go through what you are. Only the brave teacher at Cal High who pleaded with Board to do something (Nov 2017) demonstrated support for you. In advance of this terrible tragedy, he tried to prevent Ben's death. No one listened. Not one person in SRVUSD, SRVHS and/or DPD rallied for you. Ben went to school on May 8, 2018 and didn't come home. While you were awakening to Ben's empty bed and your unimaginable horror of life without him, Becker returned to work, business as usual, on May 9th. By staying silent until mid-summer, SRVHS and SRVUSD allowed rumors to swirl, generating inaccuracies. How is it that no one reached out to grieving parents, yet rolled out the welcome mat for the teacher who:

1. allowed his Lifeguard Certification to lapse, knowing the swim unit was coming up,

2. did not thoroughly check the perimeter of the pool before leaving "the classroom" (in this case, a pool)? If he checked, he would have noticed a body...Ben's body was the first thing everyone in 5th period saw when they arrived at the edge of the pool.

Those two things alone would seem to be the only things most important to the safety of students in 9th grade PE with a swimming unit, yet Becker failed on both.

My son was scheduled into one of Becker's classes in the Fall of 2018, months after Ben's death. At BTSN, Becker introduced himself to the parents in attendance and said, "Since there is no longer a Wood Shop program available (at SRVHS), this class is the most dangerous class on campus." What teacher says that, ever? And especially after a boy drowned under his supervision...only 3 months earlier?

A teacher who fears zero accountability for his actions, no matter how negligent.

Ben, we will help your parents keep your legacy alive!


SRVParent
Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:57 am
SRVParent, Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 8:57 am
152 people like this

grateful4,
Thanks you so much for allowing me to see the level of arrogance Aaron Becker displays. I wanted to believe in my heart that he is devastated. Aaron Becker the community knows you are responsible for walking away from a drowning child. You should be on your knees begging the Curry's for forgiveness not making jokes about dangerous classes.

At the recent SRVUSD board meeting Tracy Davis shared her experience on the day Ben died. It reveals the facts on what the school district was aware the day Ben drown in Aaron's class.

Web Link
Go to minute 24:10 to see her address the SRVUSD board.


Grandparent
Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 4:59 pm
Grandparent, Danville
on Feb 15, 2020 at 4:59 pm
151 people like this

Please watch the Tracy Davis video from the board meeting. She is incredibly well spoken and nailed it. How is Rick Schmitt still employed? Unbelievable how inept he and the school board are on multiple levels.
The comments on Becker are also very disturbing. How in the world is he allowed around our kids?
It’s time the SRVUSD board takes actions to fix the district’s lack of leadership.


Jennifer
Danville
on Feb 16, 2020 at 7:24 am
Jennifer, Danville
on Feb 16, 2020 at 7:24 am
7 people like this

Keenan and Associates

"Our integrated approach gives our clients the optimum balance of prevention, risk retention, rapid claims resolution and premium savings."

The $8 million settlement obviously came from an insurance policy, and why anyone would think any differently is beyond me. Are people really that naïve?


SanDiegoMom
another community
on Feb 17, 2020 at 5:52 pm
SanDiegoMom, another community
on Feb 17, 2020 at 5:52 pm
138 people like this

Considering that Rick Schmitt is the superintendent, I'm not the least bit surprised that the PE teacher was not fired or disciplined. Rick was the superintendent of my childrens' middle and high school district in North San Diego County (SDUHSD) before he was hired to fill the position at SRVUSD. Rick would never stick up for the parents in the district. During his tenure here, his position was pretty much that the parents were always wrong and the teachers were always right. Absolutely everything the teachers wanted, they got! There never seemed to be any compromise. Teachers were not disciplined or fired, even when there were serious issues. The school district was in turmoil and I believe that is why he left to pursue the position at SRVUSD. My children have since graduated from high school in the SDUHSD, but from what I can ascertain, it appears that the new superintendent here is doing a much better job.


Ted
Danville
on Feb 18, 2020 at 6:41 am
Ted, Danville
on Feb 18, 2020 at 6:41 am
137 people like this

Quote from Rogenski : “Most of us know that public education in the Bay Area has faced increased scrutiny and negative press in the recent past for a variety of reasons, some of which are probably justified, others of which are not. A number of high-profile cases which have recently been documented in the local media about alleged employee misconduct toward students have caused some to question whether the public schools are safe places for children. Some criticism has even also been lodged against schools for seemingly supporting and defending their employees at the expense of protecting the health and safety of their students. I believe these concerns are ill-conceived and unfounded."

Rogenski has an extreme view of what "seemingly supporting" is. Aaron Becker was and continues to be supported by Rogenski and it makes me sick. How dare he say "concerns are ill-conceived and unfounded." this is from a man who is responsible to investigate complaints lodged by parents against teachers.


bb
Danville
on Feb 18, 2020 at 10:33 am
bb, Danville
on Feb 18, 2020 at 10:33 am
114 people like this

Tracy Davis is remarkable. Rick Schmidt, the Board and Aaron Becker should all be removed. What a shameful group. Let's vote out the board to start change. Can those not up for reelection be recalled?


NotHappy
Danville
on Feb 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm
NotHappy, Danville
on Feb 21, 2020 at 3:31 pm
89 people like this

Its been a few weeks since the settlement and I have had the time to reflect and had hoped to come to a " calm " resolve. Just the opposite ! Becker is a liar, Schmitt is incompetent and Rogenski is a joke. They should all be removed and prosecuted !!


SRVParent
Danville
on Feb 22, 2020 at 8:12 am
SRVParent, Danville
on Feb 22, 2020 at 8:12 am
103 people like this

NotHappy,
I also have reached the same conclusion. This school district administration and board is arrogant in regard to the safety of our children.

Searching for an understanding of how does a school district allow a child to die and then create no new policies to insure are kids are safe. In reviewing the SRVUSD board meetings learned that the disregard of the safety of our children is on going and continues. During the power outages in Oct 2019 they kept elementary schools open without lights and heat. No working fire alarm, class room temperature below 60 degrees, a handful of flashlights, safe routes to school closed because of downed trees etc. During the SRVUSD school board meeting Chris George presents where he showers praise on the district for an outstanding job in keeping students and teachers working in dangerous conditions. But listen to the teachers and staff rebuttal later in the meeting for the true story of an arrogant school district attitude in regard to the safety of our children.

Web Link
To listen to Chris George presentation go to 35:57 a glowing report. At time 1:04:09 the teachers and union report on the true dangers our kids and teachers faced to allow arrogant school administration to keep 4 schools open.

As I watched this video I flashed back to the video of the teacher warning the SRVUSD board and administration that a child was going to drown in Nov 2017 only to have a child drown in May 2018. Is this a repeat of an arrogant school district administration and board ignoring the warning because dollars are valued greater than the the safety of our children?


JaneDoe
Walnut Creek
on Feb 23, 2020 at 10:27 am
JaneDoe, Walnut Creek
on Feb 23, 2020 at 10:27 am
9 people like this

Well, it's surprising and amazing, what Major positive changes, progress and results are achieved by big chunks of money. Hitting 'em in the pocketbook through legal actions has helped our entire country to enact better laws and better attitudes to protect our citizens. Not only that high school, but probably schools with pools all across our country, right now, have been carefully enacting all kinds of safety rules and trainings due not just only to this terrible unthinkable drowning of a high school student during a P.E. swim class, but also to the resulting financial 'Big Chunk' that their shocking Negligence caused the whole school district, as well.


Accountablity
Danville
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:12 am
Accountablity, Danville
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:12 am
106 people like this

"DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Public Schools Community District has placed a swimming teacher on administrative leave after the death of a student. The student was pronounced dead at a hospital after being found submerged in the school's swimming pool."

This Detroit school district values a child's life and takes steps to insure a complete investigation. In contrast to SRVUSD which allowed Aaron Becker to have continued contact with students which were witness to a negligent PE teacher's actions. The additional pain to the Curry family and Ben's school friends caused by the school district's lack of due diligence to insure a complete investigation can not be measured.

The Detroit school district posted the following statement:
"Yesterday’s loss of one of our students during school hours and at one of our schools has been one of the most difficult incidents we have endured as a School Board/Superintendent team. We are committed to determine what caused this tragic loss at the highest level of transparency once the facts surface regarding what occurred. If the conclusion of the investigation reveals any wrongdoing then we will be sure to hold any and all personnel or students accountable. At this point, the swimming teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation or the surfacing of more facts regarding the incident. "

SRVUSD administration actions following the drowning of Ben Curry are and despicable and show a level of disregard for accountability that is reprehensible.


Tim
Danville
on Mar 23, 2020 at 9:28 am
Tim, Danville
on Mar 23, 2020 at 9:28 am
85 people like this

The constant message in these comments is the incompetence of Superintendent Rick Schmitt and the despicable conduct of Aaron Becker the teacher responsible for Ben's safety while under his supervision. Both remain employed with no consequences for their lack of actions to prevent this tragedy. In a profession such as education, character integrity and responsibility matter. The true character of both of these individuals has been revealed, both will have to live with the decisions they made which resulted in Ben's death and the grief they have brought to the Curry family. To the Curry family, as a parent I can't imagine losing a child, to say I am sorry for your loss seems woefully inadequate as there are no words to express the loss of a child.


Accountability
Danville
on Mar 24, 2020 at 10:25 pm
Accountability, Danville
on Mar 24, 2020 at 10:25 pm
73 people like this

Detroit school district fires the negligent Swim teacher while our SRVUSD gives Aaron Becker a raise. It has been almost 2 years and SRVUSD continues on with no accountability. Aaron Becker abandoned a 15 year old boy to drown how much more negligent can a teacher be?
" Apparent negligence has consequences, which were fatal for a 15-year-old Detroiter last month and job-eliminating for a Mumford High teacher this week.
Chalkbeat Detroit covers a school board meeting that included the firing:
The Detroit school board fired a swim teacher at Mumford High Tuesday night, nearly a month after the death of a student who was found unresponsive in the school’s swimming pool."
The board voted unanimously to terminate the swim teacher for violating Michigan’s public pool safety guidelines and standards of ethical conduct. "
Web Link


Bill
San Ramon
on Apr 17, 2020 at 10:12 pm
Bill, San Ramon
on Apr 17, 2020 at 10:12 pm
54 people like this

SRV High School community, when will Aaron Becker be held accountable for the grief he has brought to the Curry family for allowing Ben to die while under his supervision. How can any parent allow their child to be in his class or any parent allow their child to be on the football team. Is this the role model you want for your son or daughter? He has said publicly that he was not responsible for Ben's death and that he did nothing wrong on the day Ben died. Aaron Becker you are responsible for the death of Ben Curry, this is a fact that will be with you for all of your life. All one has to do is Google Aaron Becker SRV High School and page after page of this incident will appear. SRVUSD do what is right and and terminate Aaron Becker for his negligence regarding this incident.


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