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Sister of drowned teen criticizes SRVUSD at board meeting

Original post made on Oct 25, 2018

As potential litigation involving the on-campus drowning of San Ramon Valley High School freshman Benjamin Curry looms, the boy's sister and several other residents, spoke at the school board meeting this week, to voice their displeasure at the conduct of the district in the aftermath of the teen's death.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 25, 2018, 2:07 PM

Comments (15)

Posted by Danville Parent
a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2018 at 5:31 pm

This is a sad tragedy that should have never happened and my heart goes out to the Ben’s Family.

This tragedy was preventable. And changes should have been made, but our School Board has flailed all of us and Ben’s Family as much as the teacher did that day.

The School Board was warmed and yet they did nothing. Nothing has changed from the time the Cal Hight teacher spoke up at the school board meeting about the insident that happened in his class. He asked and begged for change.

Our School Board should step down and apologize to Ben’s Family for failing them and letting their son die. They had the power to make a change, they didn’t. The teacher is to be blamed to, but the School Board has also set him up to fail.

SRVUSD School Board, step down and appoligize the Ben Family for his death that could have been prevented. You were warred if what may happen and you did nothing.

everything in our district that we should know about is a secret and none of us know the truth on how many deaths there were in our district last year, how many lawsuits we have in our district currently.

But we do know, as it’s drilled into our heads, that we are the best district in the state of California, and that we are the lowest founded district.

How about the district does their job and put our kids first and not the $.

You want change get involved and start with the top down - it starts with the school board.

Posted by RecallSRVUSDBOE
a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2018 at 5:40 pm

1. The BOE was warned by another PE teacher at another school in the district, PLEADING with them 6 months before Ben's death to do something... This is of public record as SRVEA recorded the BOE meeting in which you can listen to the teacher speak of the large class numbers and child that almost died in swim class.
2. I know many are upset with the teacher. Understandable. However the BOE has not set our teachers up for success. They are the ones that create the regulations, policies and oversee such.
3. When people fail at serving and protecting our students- especially being warned previously and fail to act, resulting in a death that could have been ANY of our children, we as a community must remove these people from their positions of influence.

It was said that the district gets 18 MILLION dollars a year in parent donations (yet, this boe wrongly gives the impression we are underfunded). How much is enough money to "Keep Class Size low" and provide tools kids need to learn? With 18 MILLION in donations coming in we are certainly NOT the lowest funded school district in California. This BOE needs to value the safety and security of our kids over dollars- and stick to a budget that allows sustainability instead of opening the wallets of parents all the time. All the money in the world won't bring Ben back. It didn't lower class sizes either. Is all of our money going to litigation in this district? Oh, wait... the BOE DID hire and approve a very pricey SUP. Since our district isn't very transparent, check it out on transparent CA...

Posted by Dad
a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Petition to remove Aaron Becker
Web Link

Let stop funding the district. SRVUSD concept of student safety is a power point presentation.

Posted by Dad
a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2018 at 9:57 pm

This statement is not true "Previously the district had not mandated lifeguards be present at school pools, a policy that has since changed in the wake of Ben Curry's death." I could not find a single new policy in regard to pool safety that SRVUSD generated after the death of Ben Curry. So as soon as the spotlight is off of the district it can do anything it wants in regard to pool safety. I am sure they will not mention the changes to the public. Again lots of talk but a policy needs to be created and posted to be real. A board member is already whining about the cost of the lifeguards.

Posted by Martha Levison
a resident of Danville
on Oct 25, 2018 at 10:41 pm

As a lifeguard and the mom of two lifeguards, I know - No one in authority - no adult in charge - leaves a pool after a class -or ever, without checking every inch of that pool. There is no reason ever to leave a pool this size - or any size unmonitored. Preventable? There is no excuse for this person drowning. None.

Posted by Louie
a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:31 am

Who supervises the locker room with co-ed classes?

To the Curry Family: May you find comfort and peace. Sincerest sympathy.

Posted by mrszalewski2
a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:56 am

To begin to evoke change, I hope all parents sign the petition. If things haven’t changed by next fall, I think all parents should boycott giving beginning of the year donations as a form of protest. Hit them in the pocketbook which unfortunately is the only pain the school board seems to understand. Very sad that these kind of people are in charge of our childrens’ education and well being while at school.

Posted by SoccerDad94
a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 9:03 am

This could have been any of our kids. Ben is our kid. To his sister and family, my heart goes out to you over this...

Sadly this BOE has failed to give us accurate information and be transparent on many issues-- unless it's "the 4th lowest district in the state."

Board Member Greg Marvel at a BOE Meeting one month ago: We’re the 4th lowest funded district in California. There is one other source of revenue we get and that is parent donations. We get around roughly 18 million in parent donations and just to put that in perspective- and believe me, that 18 million is incredible, the things we’re able to do being so low funded, we’re literally thousands per student under the average in this state, but there are districts, within reasonable commute distance who if we got what they got per student we’d have over 300 million dollars additional in this district. Now a large part of that could be going to lower class sizes, Bettie teacher salaries, benefits and whole other things we could do with 300 million. So I appreciate the 18 million the parents give us- it’s literally the lifeline that is holding us together being as low funded as we are. (Video link comment starts are 40:36: Web Link )

So, is it the state's fault Ben is dead? In another BOE Meeting Marvel says: We can’t buy our way out of class size reduction because the state doesn’t give us the money to do that when you’re the 4th lowest funded district in the state.

---Who's responsibility is it to keep classes safe? Our students safe? Do our board members understand how Local Control Funding works? Other districts in a "reasonable commute" have more than us because they get funding for many high needs kids (foster, poverty, learning differences) that our district doesn't have in comparison. SO, even IF we were to get that funding for those kids, we would be applying those funds for THOSE needs.

Let's see, 18 Million in donations in addition to all the gifts of time parents give to this district as organizers, classroom volunteers, driving on field trips and sporting events, PTA events, Ed Funds, library aides, art docents... It's time for transparency before another precious life is lost. Rest in peace, Ben. We will lift your voice.

Posted by Grandparent
a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:55 am

To Katrina Curry you are a brave young woman. Your message to the board of education and superintendent Rick Schmitt should spark outrage, in how the whole preventable tragedy of Ben’s death has been handled. It should have been prevented.
After the tragedy the board and Schmitt again showed a lack of leadership. Why is Becker still on campus? Why is Schmitt still in charge?
You can have all the degrees in the world but they don’t teach leadership, compassion or common sense. In my opinion we are lacking all three at SRVUSD. What can be done? The community needs to continue expressing their outrage. I’d love to be joined in that outrage by administrators and SRVEA. Everyone needs to come out of their protective cocoon to ensure our children are safe.
The Curry family deserves this.
I’m sure the people at SRVUSD hope this blows over, however I think they’re going to have to deal with hurricane winds.

Posted by Mom
a resident of Danville
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:07 pm

This will not blow over. We as a community are just beginning. The truth is finally out. The news reporters are on it. Meetings are in place and we will demand answers. Our supporters are growing daily and we will do whatever it takes. Rick Schmitt needs to be removed and each board member should be personally named in the lawsuit. There is recording from the PE teacher from Cal High pleading for change. The Clowns in the district office sat there and did nothing. Aaron Becker left the pool that day without checking the perimeter. He was negligent in the worst way. It’s ruined lives and many kids are suffering from ptsd from seeing their classmate and friends lifeless body pulled from the pool. Ben was under water for over an hour. This is beyond horrendous and we as a community should be outraged.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 28, 2018 at 9:26 am

How sad for this family.

If we could prevent just one death, we should close all the school pools. Come on people, have the courage to fill in the pools. SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!

Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2018 at 11:14 am

You voice the extreme to discount the desire for accountability.

The concern is that we have swimming pools that are being mismanaged and need to have competent management. SRVUSD and Aaron Becker actions show they have a complete disregard for the safety of the students and need to be held accountable. If you would like to defend SRVUSD and Aaron Becker actions please do so. Start with showing up at the SRVUSD board meetings such as Ben's sister Katrina did. The community can then put a face with the opposition to holding SRVUSD and Aaron Becker accountable. Instead of snipping from the distance.

Posted by Resident
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:51 am

Mike, that was not a "snip" from the distance.

It's a fools errand to believe accountability and public union employee can ever be achieved or ever will be be. All we can do is limit the damage they do by taking away their toys. In this case the swimming pools.

Posted by Parent SRV High
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:10 am

SRVUSD what is the official policy on pool safety? It has been almost 6 months since the death of Ben Curry and still no policy on pool safety. SRVUSD when are you are going to publish the new pool policy. Stop referencing review of pool safety policies because I checked you have no pool policies for your pools.

Posted by mrszalewski2
a resident of Danville
on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:15 am

@ resident. It is possible to fire a tenured union employee. I belong to the California Nurses Association and have been a union representative in the past. There are more steps that have to be taken than in the private sector but it is still possible.

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