Investigation Continues Into School Drowning of 11-year-old Down Syndrome Student Jenny Caballero

4:55 PM, Oct 24, 2012   |    comments
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Riverview, Florida - Many questions remain, three days after an 11-year-old student with Down Syndrome slipped away from a physical education class at Rodgers Middle School and drowned in a retention pond on school property.

How did 11-year-old Jennifer Caballero slip out of sight from her teacher and six teacher's aides and what can be done to prevent another incident like this one?

PHOTO GALLERY: View pictures of the scene here

Shirley Lawyer, the President of the Down Syndrome Network of Tampa Bay, says the number of teachers and aides supervising Jennifer and the group of about 20 special needs students is acceptable. Lawyer also says there is nothing unusual about mainstreaming these kids with the 140 other students using the gym at the time. But she does question the type of training the aides received, and if further training is needed.

Deputies found Jennifer's body Monday in a pond on school property, more than five hours after she was reported missing.

We asked the Hillsborough District to explain what type of training teacher's aides for special needs students receive, but no one was available to answer our questions.

School district officials say they will not begin their investigation until the Sheriff's office finishes its own.

Larry McKinnon, a spokesperson for the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office, says the only delay in the investigation right now is with the teacher's union. McKinnon says any additional interviews investigators must be scheduled through the union.

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