EASTPOINTE (WWJ) – A 25-year-old East Detroit High School teacher has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the drowning death of a student.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith says Johnathan Sails was found to be “grossly negligent” in the death of 14-year-old Ke-Air Swift, a ninth grader, who drowned during a remedial swim class.

“Instead of jumping in to assist Ke-Air, who was at the bottom of the pool, he went to the locker room to change into proper swim attire,” Smith told WWJ Newsradio 950.

Smith said Sails was supposed to be monitoring swim class at the Eastpointe school, but wasn’t certified as a swim teacher. Sails is accused of mis-representing his Red Cross training to the school district and not being near the pool at the time of the drowning.

“This defendant was not paying any attention and had to be convinced that Ke-Air was in trouble,” Smith said. “You know, the slightest amount of attention paid by the defendant and we could have avoided this entire tragic episode.”

A vice principal jumped into the pool, in a suit and tie, to rescue the student while Sails was changing clothes.

Ke-Air was resuscitated by an emergency crew on Nov. 8, but died after several days on life support.

Sails faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.


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