Drowning Death Prompts Legal Claim Against NorCal School District

The San Ramon Valley School District is facing a potential lawsuit from the parents of a 15-year-old boy who drowned in a swimming pool at San Ramon Valley High School in May.

According to a legal claim filed by the family — generally, the precursor to a civil lawsuit — San Ramon students were ordered to tread water for three minutes and thirty seconds by a physical education teacher and varsity football coach at the school. It was during this rigorous exercise that Benjamin Curry apparently lost consciousness and drowned. No one noticed and his body was not discovered until an hour later.

An autopsy ruled the drowning accidental, but rumors about suicide began swirling around school almost immediately. In addition to the PE teacher’s grueling exercise, the family’s attorney blames the school for not properly rebutting those claims.

In a statement, the district says it has not yet reviewed the claim and cannot comment on its contents. However, SRVUSD insists it did try to correct “false narratives” about Curry’s cause of death, citing a May 2018 statement discouraging students from engaging in speculation and rumor.

San Ramon Valley High School no longer offers swimming as part of its physical education curriculum. The school district has since implemented a new policy requiring the presence of a lifeguard during all swim and polo practices.


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