Brickbat: School Daze

Brooklyn resident Jonas Pierre got a phone call from his son's high school asking why the boy hasn't shown up for classes this fall. He reminded them that his son, Jean Fritz, had died after drowning during a school field trip in June. The New York Daily News reports that the city's Education Department has promised not to call Pierre again.

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  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Will the the city's Education Department post this story again?

  • ||

    No, the Cleveland ISD will.

  • Snark Plissken||

    The doomed freshman was one of 48 students on a field trip to Rockland County’s Bear Mountain State Park. The trip, intended to be a joyous celebration of the school year’s end, turned tragic when Jean Fritz and a friend left the group to cool down in Hessian Lake, where swimming is banned because of deep pits in the lake’s bottom.

    Park workers who spotted the teens called them four times to return to dry land, but it was too late — Jean Fritz disappeared under the water. After a 50-minute search, police discovered his body. Cops said the cause of death was accidental drowning.

    I never understood why it is supposed to be more dangerous to swim in deep water than say 20ft of water? Isn't it just as easy to drown in either one?

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The deep pits apparently affect the currents.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Okay, that would make sense.

  • ||

    It is a small oxbow....I doubt there are any currents.
    Deep pits in an oxbow? I wonder what they mean by deep.

    My guess, poor swimmer or got cramps. It is pretty far north so probably cold induced cramps.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    The articles I read say there are currents and that's why swimming is prohibited and it isn't just because of this one incident. Maybe they're just wrong.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I doubt there is any particular reason swimming is banned there. It's common for authorities to ban swimming anywhere that isn't set up with lifeguards. People mostly just ignore the bans, but it gives them something to point to when somebody drowns.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    We used to swim in an old quarry where the bottom was something short of 50 feet. The only reason I knew that is we made a raft and tied it to an anchor we dropped on a 50 foot rope.

  • Snark Plissken||

    You always hear these stories about kids drowning in old quarry lakes implying that it is because they are so deep. So I was wondering it there was any factual truth to it.

  • Ted S.||

    I always thought the problem with the quarry lakes was the uneven bottoms, and people jumping into them not realizing they're jumping into a shallow part.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I dunno, I grew up in NM where the only naturally occurring water we had was this imaginary river called the Rio Grande.

  • Robert||

    From what I can guess from the story, they're calling it "swimming" but he was actually wading. Possibly he couldn't swim and was just walking on the bottom until he stepped off into a pit. For swimmers I'm sure it's no more dangerous than any other deep water.

    As to the phone call, I remember a phone call from my father years ago where he accidentally said he'd just seen "Mother", and for about a sec. I thought, oh, yeah, there's someone I haven't talked to in a while, wonder how she is, when I realized he'd actually meant my sister (who was a recent mother, but Daddy always frequently got people mixed up when he talked), and the reason I hadn't seen Mother in a while was that she'd died ~20 yrs. earlier! Heightening my confusion was that I'd been watching home movies with her in them in the preceding days, so I was thinking of her as a contemporary.

    Go forward another 20 yrs., and I was getting phone calls from a demented lady saying she was my mother, Edna. My actual mother's name was Eva, and this lady had a son with my same 1st & last name, Robert Goodman, of which I was the lucky one of several to be getting phone calls in the Bronx phone book. After I got a call at 4 AM and then again at 6 (she was forgetting that fast), I visited her in the assisted living facility, and she asked, "Why are you saying you're my son?" Then I had them get her in touch with her real son. But when she 1st called, for a split sec. I thought, sure, Mother's calling.

  • BuSab Agent||

    I've worked as a lifeguard on and off my whole life--it's a totally cool part-time job. Robert is most likely right about the wading. For some likely cultural reason, most of the inner city black kids I've run into can't swim and a good number of the rescues I've performed were inner city black kids who had gotten into water they couldn't stand in. Oh and movie drowning is total BS, when someone is drowning they just slip under, no splashing or screaming, just one minute they're there and the next they're not, so without a lifeguard on duty watching specifically for that moment, there's no way the school monitors could have saved him.
    About swimming in quarries, the problem is abandoned quarries are often full of weird junk that people just dump in there (steel pipes, furniture, washing machines, old cars etc) and the depth varies radically so jumping into or wading can lead to very unpleasant surprises.

  • Rich||

    That's rather insensitive, anonbot.

  • Spartacus||

    The New York Daily News reports that the city's Education Department has promised not to call Pierre again.

    But they will send out a truant officer in a couple of weeks.

  • BuSab Agent||


  • croaker||

    Proof that a brain is not required for a degree in education...


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