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Police say death of student pulled from pool accidental

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FARGO — The death of a 19-year-old Fargo South High School student pulled unconscious from a school pool during a swimming class this year was accidental, police said Friday.

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“It’s a tragic accident that resulted in the death of a young person, but there’s no criminal attachment to it,” said Lt. Joel Vettel of the Fargo Police Department. “We could find no charges that could be appropriate in this case.”

Frederic Ndereimana died 18 days after he was found unconscious in the deep end of the pool Feb. 18 during a morning physical education class.

Multiple witnesses told officers that the 26 students in the class, which was meeting for the sixth day on Feb. 18, had been told that students who weren’t good swimmers weren’t allowed in the deep end, according to 55 pages of police reports released Friday, three days after final autopsy results were received by police.

In an interview Feb. 20 with police — at which a lawyer for the school district was present — the swim teacher, Karen Roesler, told police she was so strict with safety when kids were in the pool that “a lot of the students referred to her as the ‘pool police’ or the ‘pool Nazi.’”

Roesler was teaching the class with a student teacher from North Dakota State University, Joey Blackmore.

Roesler and Blackmore realized Ndereimana was at the bottom of the deep end when students saw him and alerted the teachers.

Roesler, who is a certified lifeguard, immediately did CPR on Ndereimana, according to the reports. Roesler told officers she did not think Ndereimana was underwater for more than 30 seconds after he was noticed at the bottom of the deep end, which is 12 feet at its deepest.

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