Cardenas Family: Wesley Child Care Was ‘Grossly Negligent’
Following the June 15 drowning of 4-year-old Vicente Cardenas, the Glenview Police Department has released its report of the investigation. Here, Vicente’s uncle shares the Cardenas family’s reaction to the ‘easily prevented’ tragedy.
Now that the police report is finally available, and having familiarized myself with it, I would like to relate to your readers the following sentiment:
The police report shows that the Wesley Child Center utterly failed to safeguard little Vicente’s life and is directly responsible for his death. Wesley had no responsible plan in place for ensuring that such a tragedy would not happen.
Wesley should not have taken little children to such a large and crowded swimming pool in the first place – and at a minimum, given how crowded it was that day, Wesley staff should have realized upon arrival that they could not reasonably keep track of all the children and should have left.
Wesley did not have a policy of wearing life vests for non-swimmers, unlike other organizations.
Related: Read the Glenview PD’s full report
Although they had 7 or 8 staff members at the pool, shockingly Wesley did not assign a small manageable number of children to each adult. Instead, each adult was tasked with watching all 18 children – that is an absurd allocation of responsibility – no one person can keep track of 18 children in a crowded swimming pool and having each adult watch all 18 children meant that one child could slip away without being noticed by any of the adults.
They didn’t even have a policy of same-color shirts or swimming caps, which would have enabled them to easily identify a child in case he wandered off. Wesley obviously had no rational or responsible plan for dealing with a missing child.
When a Wesley staff member discovered that Vicente was missing, she first informed other staff members and then they went about searching for him – what they should have done is immediately RUN to a lifeguard, report a 4-year old child missing, and have the pool emptied. Instead, they wasted valuable time while Vicente drowned.
The police report demonstrates that Wesley was grossly negligent in safeguarding little Vicente, and that negligence spans from Wesley’s executive director (and anyone else who sets policy there) all the way down to each staff member who was present at the pool that day (since each was tasked with watching all of the children).
This is a tragedy that could have been easily prevented had Wesley used half a brain in planning this dangerous activity. I truly hope that other caregivers learn a lesson from Wesley’s irresponsible actions.
Cardenas Family Spokesperson