(WWJ) The Michigan Court of Appeals has reinstated an involuntary manslaughter charge against a teacher who was blamed for the death of a teenager at a high school pool in Eastpointe.

The charge against Johnathan Sails, 25, was thrown out by a Macomb County judge in 2015. But the appeals court said there’s enough evidence that Sails was “grossly negligent” by failing to provide immediate assistance to 14-year-old KeAir Swift.

Swift drowned at East Detroit High School in 2013. Prosecutors say Sails was assigned to monitor a remedial swim class but was in the bleachers with his back to the pool when Swift was struggling.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric 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 misrepresenting 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.


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