High School Teacher Charged in Bullied Teen's Drowning Death.
A Detroit teacher has been charged with manslaughter after a bullied teen was found dead at the bottom of a swimming pool under his watch. 47-year-old Kareem Sigler is facing the charge of first-degree manslaughter after Da’Sean Blanding, a student in Sigler's swimming class, died back in February.
Here's the backstory. On February 24, 2020 "Prosecutors allege sometime after the class started, Sigler was in another room when a student notified him that Blanding was at the bottom of the pool. Sigler dove into the water and, with the help of other students, pulled Blanding to the surface.
Sigler told students to call 911 while he rendered medical assistance. At 12:15 p.m., medics arrived and transported the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced deceased."
Prosecutor Kym Worthy alleges Sigler was grossly negligent by failing to supervise Blanding, who was also disabled, which resulted in his death.
"We are alleging that the evidence in this case shows that the death of Mr. Blanding could have been prevented," Worthy said in a statement. "While swimming pools are certainly desirable, they can also be death traps without proper, necessary, and needed supervision and preparedness.
Sigler was arraigned this morning and given a $30,000 bond / 10% surety and won't be allowed to use drugs, alcohol, marijuana or illegal substances. Sigler also cannot have firearms or unsupervised contact with minor children."
Here's where things get even worse. An autopsy report was released last month that showed Blanding also had "injuries to his face and head that match the grate the runs along the outside of the pool."
The Wayne County Medical Examiner, Leigh Hlavaty, said that Blanding "had abrasions on his forehead and brow and that bruising on the underside of his scalp indicated he was alive when his head struck the pool grate." He also found injuries to his body "which could represent him being pushed into the water" or could represent his back striking the edge of the pool as he was pulled out.
Although those injuries did not cause Blanding's death but they sure do raise questions as to what really happened to him.
Christina Blanding of Detroit is overcome with emotion while talking about the drowning death of her son. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)
Blanding's mother alleges her 15-year-old, learning-disabled son was bullied and beaten before he was forced into the water and while his teacher left the class unsupervised.
Christina Blanding has said her son was bleeding from the nose and mouth when he was pulled from the pool and had marks on his neck. She said she saw the injuries when she viewed her son's body at the hospital.
Blanding's mother is also hoping to get the full story from the students that were present during her son's drowning. Reports say that there were six students in Sigler's swim class at the time of Blanding's death. The students told authorities that they had been splashing and dunking each other but that Blanding, who was wearing a short sleeved shirt and shorts, was not taking part in the horseplay or even in the pool.
"I would like other people to speak up about who did this to my child." Christina Blanding said "Parents are silencing the other teens in the class. They need to stop the 'not-snitching' rule."
Late Monday night, Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Detroit schools, issues a statement on the matter:
"On March 17, 2020, the DPSCD Board of Education terminated Mr. Sigler, the swim teacher, based on the Superintendent’s recommendation. This entire situation has been painful to everyone involved. That pain only continues regarding the arrest of Mr. Sigler. Based on our own investigation regarding the incident, we can understand why he was arrested. Our investigation led to his termination."
Blanding's attorney Johnny Hawkins said investigators in the case have told him they have had a hard time interviewing other students in class that day to understand how Da'Sean ended up in the pool.
This is a case where someone needs to separate from the group and tell the truth about what REALLY happened to Da'Sean Blanding.
In the meantime a probable cause conference is scheduled for May 27 at 8:30 a.m. before Judge Kenneth King for Kareen Sigler. A preliminary exam will follow on June 3 at 1:30 p.m.