Drowning victim's family files $15M claim against school district

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- The family of a boy who drowned during swim class has filed a $15 million claim against the Wenatchee School District.

Antonio Reyes died last month. His family says he couldn't swim. They want to know why he was allowed in the pool, and how he drowned with so many people around.

"I need the answers. What happened to my son?" said Juan Reyes.

On Nov. 17, Juan and Filamena Reyes got the terrible news: their son had drowned at school during a gym class, but no one in the class noticed him in trouble.

"I feel empty," said his mother, Filomena Reyes, with the help of a translator. "Just a complete emptiness."

Police said students who showed up for the next swim class 40 minutes later found his body at the bottom of the pool.

"How is it that he was in the pool for 40 minutes and no one found him?" said Sim Osborn, an attorney representing the Reyes family.

Antonio Reyes's parents were equally shocked and horrified to learn their son was even in a pool, as he could not swim.

"Never told me my son had this class," said his father.

At a news conference on Monday, the family attorney revealed another shocking revelation: "He had been in class for a few days. He was never tested for his swimming ability, and he did not know how to swim."

The Reyes family said when they pressed the district for answers, The school will say only, 'I don't know,'" said the boy's father.

District officials declined a request for an interview, but did release a written statement that said it "continues to extend its condolences to Antonio Reyes' family." The district said its investigation is ongoing, and the swimming pool remains closed for the duration.

"Antonio Reyes's death was a tragedy for many reasons, but mostly because it was absolutely preventable," said Osborn.

When asked whether swim class teachers take roll call and check the pool after class, the district told KOMO News to file a written request.

The gym teacher who was in charge of the class has been placed on administrative leave. The district said it has been advised by legal counsel not to comment on the claim, but did say it "takes it very seriously."