Bunmi's legacy

13th July 2001 at 01:00
It will be many weeks before the mother of 11-year-old drowning victim Bunmi Shagaya gets the official answer to the heart-rending question she asked while kneeling by a French lake: "Why did this have to happen?" Many people will already have concluded that the teachers are to blame again. The school trip fatality figures (see page 31) appear to support that view. No fewer than 40 children and four adults have died since 1985. Nonetheless, the truth is that school journey organisers are more safety-conscious than ever and the death tally is tiny in comparison with the number of trips. But Bunmi's death has reminded us how dangerous it can be to swim in open water - statistically, swimming is the most hazardous outdoor activity for children. It has also highlighted the need for more risk-assessment training for trip leaders.

Her death may therefore lead to further tightening of regulations and saved lives. But that will be little consolation to either her mother or her teachers. Their lives will never be the same again.

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