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Valor Dictus

Disconnect to Reconnect

Sam Davis, News Editor

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On Memorial Day at Lorton Station Community Pool, a seven year-old girl named Fatmata Kamara drowned. According to English teacher, Jody McCabe, “[The lifeguards] were busy on their phones and weren’t paying attention and doing their job.”

McCabe was at the pool with her daughters, ten year-old Fionn, and twelve year-old Mada. After going to get a ball, Fionn started yelling for her sister and said, “There’s a girl at the bottom of the pool”. Mada yelled for her mother and McCabe came running and jumped into the pool and pulled out the little girl with the help of her daughter Fionn, and Fatmata’s aunt, who was watching her at the time. Immediately, McCabe started mouth to mouth on Fatmata with another parent doing CPR.

“Two things I remember the most are the aunt telling me ‘Please don’t let her die’ and looking over, seeing one of the lifeguards with her phone out. I asked them if they called 9-1-1 and they immediately dialed it. I think they were just in shock at what was going on,” said McCabe.

“There were no lifeguards on the stand. I used to be a lifeguard so then was a little startling. I counted the number of people in the pool and there were 26 kids in the water. I looked over and the two lifeguards were sitting there on their phones. There have been complaints about the pool management. I went to a board meeting myself and told my story” McCabe said. There was another drowning at Pirate’s Cove under the same management. This time, it was a two year-old boy.

This event is what sparked the Disconnect to Reconnect at Robinson. Disconnect to Reconnect is more strict when it comes to personal devices in the class. Some teachers have pockets to put your phones in.  “This idea of Disconnect to Reconnect was that the lifeguards weren’t bad kids. It’s just they’re so attached to their phones like so many others. We want kids to talk to the people next to them. They’ll go the entire year not knowing the kid sitting next to them and we want them to disconnect from their phones and talk to those people. I’ve seen an improvement in kids paying attention in class. We used to try and get our kids to talk all the time and now we have to quiet them down which is a big sign that this is working,” says McCabe.

After the incident, McCabe and her daughters were questioned by the police. McCabe and her daughters still struggle with some of the after affects. They still second guess, thinking they could’ve saved the girl’s life.

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