UNF changes policy after boy pulled from swimming pool

Attorney, parent says son wasn't properly supervised during summer camp

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The University of North Florida has changed its swimming pool policy after a boy went underwater during summer camp and was rescued by a woman who is not a lifeguard.

Before the incident, any child who passed a swim test could go without a life jacket. UNF has since changed that policy, requiring all 5- and 6-year-olds to wear a life jacket.

Attorney John Phillips, the 6-year-old boy's father, said his son, Bennett, wasn't properly supervised and could have been under water for a potentially harmful amount of time. He has since taken Bennett out of camp.

"I was, like, holding my breath for a long time so I couldn't die," Bennett said. "I couldn't hold it that long."

Phillips said on Monday, his son was instructed to wear a life jacket, but on Tuesday, when the boy went under, he was not.

"He seems fine, but there is a risk of delayed drowning," Phillips said. "It doesn't look like protocol was followed. I don't know how long he was under. I don't have any answers. I've had two people tell me they'll get back to me."

UNF said there are three lifeguards on duty at the pool. There are also 10 counselors in the water with the children. 

It's unclear why no lifeguards noticed Bennett go underwater. The university said it is investigating.

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