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Mother of student who drowned at Whiteland HS demands for P.E teacher's termination

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Posted at 10:20 PM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-16 13:40:42-04

JOHNSON COUNTY — The mother of a Whiteland high school student who drowned in gym class is demanding action from the school district.

15-year-old Alaina Dildine drowned in the swimming pool during PE class at Whiteland Community High School in May.

The coroner ruled her death accidental by seizure and drowning.

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According to a timeline from the sheriff's department, Dildine went un-noticed in the pool for 52 minutes.

The Johnson County Prosecutor's Office did not file any criminal charges.

At a Clark Pleasant School Corporation board meeting on Tuesday, Alaina's mother, Victoria Dildine, called for the gym teacher to be fired stating that the teacher failed to fulfill her duty to keep kids safe.

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Alaina Dildine's mother wears her daughters name on her shirt and stands next to a photo of her Alaina as she demands action from the school district.

"We come to you yet again to demand that the board fire [the P.E teacher] she failed to uphold the job description posted for the P.E teacher," Dildine said. "She failed to keep student's safe. We see the personnel report naming her replacement, but we do not see her termination."

Victoria and the the Dildine family also expressed their disappointment with the Johnson County Prosecutor's decision to not file any criminal charges last month:

"We are trying our best not to feel angry...but it is hard. As we continue to mourn, we ask the school corporation to implement new swimming pool policies to keep all students safe so no other family has to experience such a profound loss," they wrote.

Bernice Martin Lee, Chief Executive Officer of the Epilepsy Foundation also attended Tuesday's board meeting.

Lee pointed to a state law passed in 2019 requiring teachers who work with students at high risk for seizures to receive training every 5 years to recognize and respond to seizures.

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"Living with epilepsy myself, I personally know how unsettling it is to not know when a seizure may happen and the epilepsy foundation supports all policies and processes that keep students with disabilities such as epilepsy safe, supported and thriving in school environments," she said.

WRTV reached out to Clark Pleasant Community School Corporation to ask if the teacher in this case received training.

Their response:

"We can’t discuss personnel matters."

You can read the full statement read Lee at Tuesday's meeting on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation below.

Our hearts go out to the Dildine family for the loss of their daughter, Alaina. The Epilepsy Foundation is here today on behalf of the Freeland family and others in Whiteland with children with epilepsy who have reached out to us for support to educate and inform the community on laws that help keep schools safe for students with epilepsy. Living with epilepsy, I personally know how unsettling it can be not knowing when a seizure may happen. One important aspect of school safety is ensuring that school personnel are trained in emergency response including seizure recognition and seizure first aid.

Advocates across the country, along with the Epilepsy Foundation and other epilepsy organizations, are working to pass Seizure Safe Schools legislation in all 50 states and D.C. In 2019, Senator Blake Doriot and Representative David Frizell — with support from the Epilepsy Foundation in Indiana — championed Seizure Safe Schools legislation, which was signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb and mandates all school employees who have direct ongoing contact with children in the state to undergo training in seizure recognition and first aid once every five years. Ensuring schools are complying with the law is urgent and critical. The importance of knowing how to recognize a seizure and administering seizure first aid cannot be overstated. Simply put, properly supporting students with disabilities, such as epilepsy, and school personnel trained in seizure first aid can help save lives.

Every student deserves to feel safe, and every parent should have peace of mind that their child will be cared for at school in the event of a seizure. The Epilepsy Foundation wants everyone who has direct contact with children to be knowledgeable about epilepsy and seizures. We want to emphasize support for all policies and processes that keep students with epilepsy safe and thriving in the school environment. Let’s work together to protect our children and educate everyone around us about epilepsy and seizure first aid. It is paramount to the safety and well-being of our children.