Boy who drowned at Carson Beach was denied life jacket because staff only had pink ones for girls, family charges

The family of Kyzr Willis, who drowned while at a city-run summer program at Carson Beach last year, is suing Mayor Walsh, the city and individual workers at the program.

The family filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court, but the city quickly moved to have the suit heard in federal court because of the constitutional issues involved - the city is charged with violating the boy's 14th Amendment rights.

The suit also charges the city violated a state law known as Christian's Law, after a boy who drowned at a Sturbridge beach, that requires kids in waterfront programs be given wristbands if they can't swim and that all be offered life jackets.

According to the suit, Kyzr, 7, could not swim, and on July 26, 2016, asked one of the workers at the BCYF program for a life jacket.

On that day, Kyrr, who was wearing his fluorescent swim trunks ... expressed to camp counselor Jane Doe that he wanted a life jacket, but was told by Jane Doe that there were only pink ones for girls available, so he was never given a life jacket.

During that entire day, not a single lifeguard, not a single camp counselor, not a single camp supervisor or director made Kyzr wear a lifejacket as he played close to and in the ocean.

The family is asking for unspecified damages for the suffering Kyzr experienced during his death and for the suffering the family continues to suffer as a result of it.

Earlier this year, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office ruled that there was no foul play involved in his death.

Complete Willis complaint (2.2M PDF).

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Comments

Swimmer

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Tragic that the kid died. The Herald reported they had pink life jackets but he didn't want to wear it. How about instead of a cash payout to the family, the city buys more swimmies in various colors so this doesn't happen again.

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Strange that they have

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Strange that they have gendered life jackets.

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Boys and men can wear pink

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Boys and men can wear pink life jackets. What's sad is that this little boy was taught that it was so shameful to wear pink that he didn't want to wear a life jacket. What's worse is that those in charge decided that was acceptable.

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Yep

Those old orange vests often fade to a pinkish hue

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Is it true that pink is for

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Is it true that pink is for girls? Don't they have all bright one color?

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What

The Actual Fuck.

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Unclear??

It says there were only pink ones, and then 'he didn't have one'. I can't imagine they wouldn't give him one, but it doesn't state that he refused it because it was pink.

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Yes, the wording is very

Yes, the wording is very vague. It doesn't say whether they wouldn't give him one or whether he refused to take a pink one. I'm not going to make a guess as to which is more likely lest I get accused of victim-blaming.

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well..

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Regardless - if he didn't have a life jacket on and he couldn't swim, he should not have been allowed in the water.

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Well he was 7 so to blame the

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Well he was 7 so to blame the victim would be ridiculous. If he refused a pink one then he should have had to play inside or stay with a staff member on the sand.

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You're assuming that there

You're assuming that there was a staff member available to spend the entire trip watching this one kid. Obviously if the requirement was that "every child must wear a lifejacket", he should have been forced to wear one, but it's not hard to imagine a scenario in which he promised not to go in the water but then did anyway when someone wasn't looking.

As for "victim blaming", that's probably not a good term to use in this case, but anyone who's a parent or knows little kids knows how easily some of them blow their top if the thing they're being given is the wrong color/shape/texture/whatever.

I imagine the bulk of the trial will concentrate on what the lifeguards were required to do in such a situation vs. what they actually did.

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It wasn't a trip to the beach

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It wasn't a trip to the beach. It is a camp that takes place at a center on the beach. I was there the day before this happened and lifeguard was texting as were other staff members. So if understaffed then at least put the phones away. Also if a camp can't keep track of young children on a beach then it shouldn't be open for this age group.

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Just doubling down on it now aren't you?

Whats with the scary quotation marks? Why are you so afraid of being called a victim blamer when you pontificate about how the victim might be to blame?

As for "victim blaming", that's probably not a good term to use in this case, but anyone who's a parent or knows little kids knows how easily some of them blow their top if the thing they're being given is the wrong color/shape/texture/whatever.

What in the hell does this have to do with the supervising adults neglecting to keep a child safe?

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Whats with the scary

Whats with the scary quotation marks?

Quotation marks are used to indicate that the writer is quoting from something that was previously spoken or written. In this case, the phrase "victim blaming". Hope this helps clear up your confusion.

What in the hell does this have to do with the supervising adults neglecting to keep a child safe?

It has nothing to do with it at all, which is why the next thing I wrote was:

"I imagine the bulk of the trial will concentrate on what the lifeguards were required to do in such a situation vs. what they actually did."

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Not confused, you're being disingenuous with your comments

Scare quotes are a particular use of quotation marks. They are placed around a word or phrase to indicate that it is not used in the fashion that the writer would personally use it. In contrast to the nominal typographic purpose of quotation marks, the enclosed words are not necessarily quoted from another source.

When read aloud, various techniques are used to convey the sense, such as prepending the addition of "so-called" or a similar word or phrase of disdain, using a sarcastic or mocking tone, or using air quotes, or any combination of the above.

Still haven't answered why you are so afraid of being called a victim blamer when you pontificate about how the victim might be to blame.

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I guess reading comprehension isn't your strong suit

I never "pontificate[d] about how the victim might be to blame".

I predicted that if I guessed that the kid refused to put on a pink life jacket, I would get accused of victim blaming.

And guess what? I was 100% correct, as your responses demonstrate.

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If you choose to victim blame

You just might get accused of victim blaming. Not really that hard to comprehend.

Just confused why you have to be such a snowflake about it, own it if you want to victim blame or just maybe don't victim blame if it bothers you when others call you out.

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Try harder

I predicted that if I guessed that the kid refused to put on a pink life jacket, I would get accused of victim blaming.

It doesn't say whether they wouldn't give him one or whether he refused to take a pink one.

but anyone who's a parent or knows little kids knows how easily some of them blow their top if the thing they're being given is the wrong color/shape/texture/whatever.

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Yeah, you're right, it is

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Yeah, you're right, it is sort of vague. No matter what, the kid should have been well supervised; but if I were the adult passing out the life jackets and any child were hesitant because of the color, it would have been a good time to explain color doesn't matter if the purpose is to keep you safe around water.

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Not only is the wording vague

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Not only is the wording vague, but how reliable is it? The child died, so the words in the complaint might be a paraphrasing of what the lifeguard later testified, which again might be a paraphrase of the words she earlier told the kid.

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Kind of important

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Things I've seen make don't make it seem that they refused him the pink life jacket, just that there were only pink ones left, so there is a big difference in how the case is presented.

Don't get me wrong, though. It really looks like the City (as an entity represented by those directly involved in this tragedy) screwed up. If he could not swim, that should have been a red flag to either keep him out of the water or guarantee, absolutely guarantee, that he was constantly supervised.

That said, I think the lawsuit was a tactic to get this resolved. I don't see how the family isn't going to get compensation in this case. For the sake of the family, I hope this gets resolved quick so it stays out of the courts.

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Quit tip toeing around it

If you want cast blame on the victim, than just say it man and stop being a snowflake. Who cares if he refused to put it on or not, he's a child under the supervision of adults, they were responsible for his safety.

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I heard that he didn't feel

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I heard that he didn't feel comfortable wearing a pink one around his friends(didn't want to be teased) so they let him in the water anyways. Poor kid. 7 years old and not one adult staff member was looking out for him. Our inner city kids deserve better than this. I hope the parents succeed in suing those responsible.

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Who are these idiots who

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Who are these idiots who denied him a life jacket? Who cares what color it is. He'd be alive today if he wore it. And please, can the people who are supposed to be watching these kids put their phones done for once and watch these kids? I am sickened.

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What happened?

Did they refuse to give him a pink jacket or did they say they only had pink ones and he declined as he wanted a blue (or other color) one? The article is unclear.

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well..

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Doesn't matter if he was offered the pink jacket and didn't want it - he should not have been allowed in the water without a jacket because he couldn't swim.

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What are the written

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What are the written guidelines that the employees are supposed to adhere to with respect to kids and life jackets?

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Legal question

Why can Mayor Walsh be sued specifically? I'd assumed that the office of mayor has some built-in legal protections against personal responsibility for actions taken by the city as an entity. If a bus driver hits my car, I wouldn't expect I could sue the mayor over the actions of a city employee.

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No

You can't personally sue a city employee conducting official business in Massachusetts. Just ask the Indy car guy.

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Not true.

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That's not accurate.

You can't hold a public employee personally liable for negligent conduct while acting in their official capacity. You can, however, hold them personally liable for intentional conduct committed in the course of their official capacity.

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Life jackets can be ALL sorts

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Life jackets can be ALL sorts of colors. Wear a life jacket if you're supposed to and STOP teaching your kids to think it's shameful to wear a certain color!! It's this sexist BS that adults impose upon innocent children that is causing the problem! Only demented people would shame their children
like this!

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BCYF

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Have you ever talked to the people who work at BCYF?
The Leadership is so checked out, $$$.
The Jobs are patronage, it is a horrible scary joke.
I

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The question is: Why is this

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The question is: Why is this only coming out now? Also, what did Marty Walsh know, and when did he know it? Hiding the facts about the death of a kid for political reasons is a bad look. Never uncovering the reason is also bad. Too bad the city doesn't have an actual alternative with a good shot of unseating Marty. He's been a disaster. Crime is up. Racial unrest-and the financial divide-has only grown. And his utter lack of interest in actually helping the neighborhoods or taking responsibility for any of his flip-flopping positions is pathetic. He was billed as a sort of nuts-and-bolts guy who might not have a great overall vision for the city. Instead, he can't tell a nut from a bolt to keep this city on the right track and he's got no overall vision (excuse me while I laugh at Boston 2030).

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This is the kind of thing

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This is the kind of thing that feminists are talking about when we say Sexism and Toxic Masculinity hurts boys too. Whether it was a staff person deciding a boy shouldn't be allowed pink or a culture that taught the kid wearing pink was worse than anything in the world, this is the attitude that hurts both sexes.

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Horrible, heart-breaking

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Horrible, heart-breaking tragedy. However, how would the family know what the child did say or not say about wearing a pink lifejackt?

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