Hillsborough Schools settles with family of drowned girl Jenny Caballero

7:23 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - The family of Jenny Caballero did not take questions at a Tuesday afternoon news conference and an interpreter read their statement in English and Spanish, but no translation was needed for the pain on their faces.

"We want to forgive everyone who was involved in the loss of our beloved daughter," read interpreter Ana Vazquez, as tears ran down the cheeks of Jenny's mother Elizabeth Rosas.

The settlement agreement clearly sent emotions and memories of Jenny flowing.

"They'd like everyone to remember her as a joy and really an angel in their lives," said family attorney Stephen Diaco.

In October 2012, the 11-year-old with Down syndrome wandered away from her gym class at Rodgers Middle School. After a search, her body was found in a nearby retention pond.

SEE ALSO: 5 school aides suspended after student drowns

On Tuesday morning, the Hillsborough School Board approved a settlement that will give the family more than $500,000.

"This tragedy will live with us for a long, long time to come," said board member Susan Valdes before the unanimous vote.

No amount of money can replace a child, but this family's claim was never about the money. They wanted changes in the way children with special needs were taught and monitored and they're pleased with the actions of the superintendent.

"People were terminated and reassigned. There's been improved training for the ESE programs. There's a career path for ESE aides to attract better people," outlined Diaco.

Jenny's two sisters, also at the news conference are straight-A students in high school and in college. Their future is bright, but it's a future they will no longer share with their little sister.

However, it's hoped this young girl with the big smile will still have a lasting legacy. The family's statement makes that clear.

"Our goal from the beginning was to prevent this from ever happening to another family in our community again."

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