Richfield 7th-grader recovering after near-drowning in gym class

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A middle school student is recovering after a near-drowning Tuesday at a school in Richfield.

Da'Von Lewis, 12, said he was swimming in the pool, in water over his head, during phy-ed class Tuesday.

He said he thought a lesson was starting, so turned to go back to the ladder and get out.

"I was only halfway there to the ladder and that's when I started drowning," he said.

He remembers going underwater and not being able to yell for help.

"That's when I woke up and saw all these paramedics and other people circling me and they were reviving me because I was dead for about 2 to 3 minutes," he recalled.

He said paramedics gave him those details.

Da'Von was rushed to Children's Hospital by ambulance, and his mom was already there waiting for him.

"I was fearful something like this could occur," said his mom, Tiffany Lewis.

Lewis said she had just sent an email to the gym teacher a month ago letting him know Da'Von has asthma, asking him to, "Keep an eye on him because I am fearful for him."

She showed KSTP the email and the teacher's response.

"He said, 'we'll keep a good eye on him.' I am angry, I am really angry," she said.

Especially upset after she heard it was another student who noticed Da'Von on the bottom of the pool.

"Thank God that kid, that kid, he saved my son's life," she said.

Richfield Public Schools sent a letter home to parents, which states several students and the phy-ed teacher were able to give CPR, and the student "regained consciousness."

"All I can say to them is 'thank you,' I am grateful that they did see me," said Da'Von.

He says it was a terrifying incident, but it won't keep him out of the water.

"Even if something like this happens, I won't let it stop me from being able to learn how to swim," he added.

The district said the swimming lessons are part of an eight-day program in phy-ed, adding, "This incident validates the need to have students participate."

It's not clear what the student to teacher ratio was in the pool area.

The district did have a student support group available on Tuesday and Wednesday for students impacted by the incident.