CCSD adding more surveillance cameras at West Ashley school following near drowning

CCSD adding more surveillance cameras at West Ashley school following near drowning

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Nearly two months after a 6-year-old special needs student almost drowned on school property, Charleston County School District officials say they plan to add more surveillance cameras on campus.

Charleston Police responded to a report of a student who had fallen into a retention pond behind the Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School at approximately 11:05 a.m. on May 16.

When first responders arrived, the boy was unresponsive and lying on the ground inside the playground where school staffers were already performing CPR. Within minutes, the boy was transported to MUSC.

"He returned to school the following week," said spokesman Andy Pruitt.

Following the incident at Ashley River Creative Arts, Pruitt confirmed Wednesday the district is in the process of installing cameras in the area of the gym and retention pond of the school, however the number cannot be confirmed.

CCSD released a statement two days after the incident in part reading:

"Regarding the incident itself, we can report the student was discovered in the retention pond by staff who were supervising recess on the playground at the time. We are actively investigating how the student was able to get on the other side of the locked fence, which is nearly six feet high. The Charleston Police Department did an initial investigation on site that day; however, it is not a criminal matter and the school district is fully in charge of the investigation."

On June 6 the Charleston Police Department released supplemental reports giving new details to the incident at the West Ashley school.

An investigator stated the student may have stood on a picnic table to climb over the fence into the area where the pond was located.

"A partial palm print, consistent with that of a small child, was observed on the top of the fence," the report states. "However, it cannot be confirmed that the palm print even belonged to the child in question."

The supplemental reports also mention a camera system used by the district, comprising approximately 15 cameras, were "not functioning properly including the one [pointing] in the direction of the special needs playground." But the officer added in the report that the camera would not have shown the portion of the playground near the retention pond because the view would have been obstructed by the school's gymnasium.

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