Drowning victim remembered at Brooklyn school

June 25, 2013 3:20:45 PM PDT
In a building that houses 4 separate schools in Brooklyn, it was a surreal day.

Happy graduates from one high school took photos outside, while some of the grief stricken classmates of a 9th grader from a different school received counseling inside.

Friends of 16-year-old Jean Fritz Pierre, a 9th grader at the international high school in Prospect Park, are baffled by his death.

"They were like, 'Why, why did this happen? They were like very close friends to him, and it's just sad," student Tamara Duclosel said.

Authorities now tell Eyewitness News that Pierre and a friend wandered off from their school trip at Bear Mountain State Park on Monday. There were 4 dozen other students on the trip, but no one was supposed to go swimming.

Pierre drowned only feet away from shore at the lake where swimming is prohibited.

The chancellor visited the school on Tuesday.

"Our staff is taking it hard. A number are crying. It's a small school, so the students know each other," Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said.

Still, some parents are raising questions about safety on field trips.

"My daughter just changed schools like 3 months ago because of the lack of supervision there," said one parent.

The chancellor insists that what happened to Pierre was a tragedy where no staff person can be blamed.

"The child was supervised, proper staff-student ratio. This was hiking trip," Walcott said.

The tragedy comes at the end of the school year, which ends Wednesday.