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Family files suit in boy’s drowning at St. Louis Park school

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — The family of Abdullahi Charif has filed a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages for the drowning death of the 12-year-old boy in a St. Louis Park Middle School swimming pool.

Abdullahi was found floating in the deep end of the school pool on Feb. 27.

The school district and the gym teacher supervising Charif’s class failed to properly supervise the boy, who was unable to swim, the lawsuit argues.

The family’s suit also claims the teacher, James Bigot, was using an iPad when he should have been watching the children in the pool. Bigot also failed to notice that Charif was at the bottom of the pool for several minutes, even after other students had left the pool, the family says.

In addition to monetary damages, the family wants the school district to adopt a policy that would require that at least one other qualified educator, swimming coach or lifeguard be present in addition to the person responsible for monitoring students in the pool.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s office declined last month to press criminal charges in the case. Its investigation determined that Charif and some of the other students in the class were roughhousing on a raft in the pool before his drowning.