La Salle sued by dead student’s parents

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The parents of a La Salle high school student who drowned during a swimming class last year have sued the school and one of its teachers.

In a case filed last week, Ramon and Angela Galang asked the Manila Regional Trial Court to award them P1.127 million in damages for the death of their son, Simon Ivan Galang, a freshman of La Salle Green Hills in Mandaluyong City.

According to the petitioners, their son attended a kite-flying activity and earthquake drill conducted on the school campus on Oct. 11, 2012. The activities were held in addition to regular classes.

The Galangs said that later in the day, Simon and his classmates attended their swimming class under their physical education teacher, Julius Abesamis.

The activity for that day called for two students at a time to do some swimming drills in a three-foot-deep pool.

The petitioners said that several students who were tired from the morning’s activities begged off from participating in the drill although their son was not one of them.

While in the pool, one of Simon’s classmates noticed that he was weak and tried to pull him out of the water.

Another student also tried to help out even as Simon went under several times, the petitioners added. The students said that at that time, Abesamis was nowhere to be found.

It was only when his classmates finally managed to bring Simon out of the pool that Abesamis and the lifeguard on duty appeared on the scene. They tried but failed to revive him, the Galangs said in their petition.

The couple added that their son was brought to Cardinal Santos Medical Center where he was revived by doctors. They were warned, however, of the possibility that he might suffer from multiple organ failure and end up being in a vegetative state because he stopped breathing and was without a pulse for quite some time.

On his 14th day of confinement at the hospital, Simon was pronounced dead. His parents said they “strongly believed that the death of their son could have been avoided had [Abesamis] exercised utmost care and prudence which was expected of him as the physical education teacher.”

The couple added that “Abesamis failed to do his task of watching carefully the state of every student undergoing the swimming drill.”

Simon’s parents also said the school should be held responsible because the incident happened on campus and during school hours. They added that although the school helped pay for some of the hospital expenses, they shouldered the cost of their son’s wake and burial.

The Inquirer tried to get the side of La Salle Green Hills but was informed by Emmie Cabral that Ronda Indrie, the executive assistant to the school president, Br. Victor Franco, was “engaged at the moment.”

Cabral, who identified herself as Indrie’s secretary, said that only Indrie was authorized to speak on the matter. With Kristine Felisse Mangunay

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