DANVILLE (KPIX 5) — Family and friends of an East Bay teenager who drowned during a high school swim class last May packed a board meeting to demand the school district take some accountability.
15-year-old freshman Ben Curry was discovered on May 8 in the pool at San Ramon Valley High School after PE class by another student.
Dressed in purple — Ben’s favorite color — a group of Danville parents and teachers along with Ben’s sister Katrina, took over the public comment section of the school board meeting Tuesday.
His sister gave an emotional plea for justice.
“The last time I talked to my brother was Monday, May 7th, 2018. The next day was the worst day of my life,” said Katrina Curry. “The pain of losing Ben has been indescribable, but these past months — knowing his death was preventable — have been excruciating.”
They admonished thee board’s inaction, specifically for allowing PE teacher Aaron Becker to remain working with students.
“He was never even put on leave while the investigation was in progress,” said Katrina. “He failed in his most basic duty as a teacher. My brother is dead.”
Becker had students tread water for three minutes at the end of swim class on May 8, and then tacked on an additional 30 seconds when a student touched a lane divider.
Class was then dismissed, but Ben Curry’s body was found at the bottom of the pool an hour later.
“It’s been five months and 15 days and Mister Becker has continued showing up at work every single day while there’s a mother and a father without their son,” said San Ramon Valley High School parent Tracy Davis.
Parents are asking for accountability from the board.
“A police officer goes on leave until they clear a shooting, whether its good or not. And even if it’s good, they’re on leave,” said Joe Olson, another SRVHS Parent. “This man was never put on leave.”
The board acknowledged Ben’s death after the comments, but said little else. Afterwards, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Communications Director Elizabeth Graswich offered a statement.
“I can’t speak to anything related to the pending litigation or to personnel matters,” said Graswich.
The Curry family has filed a claim against the school district. That move may be a precursor to a lawsuit.