Lifeguards in Hot Water Over Underage Pool Party
LAKEWOOD, Ohio – At the Foster Pool in Lakewood, lifeguards kept a watchful eye on Wednesday.
Nine fellow city lifeguards are off the chair after an alleged underage pool party on the Fourth of July.
“The Fourth of July in Lakewood was a disaster, and we were trying to communicate to the people what was going on. We agreed that we could commandeer what was going on through the PA system at the Park. I showed up, unbeknownst to a lot of lifeguards, apparently,” said Mayor Mike Summers.
Park staff say most of the lifeguards were over 18 but under 21.
As many as two dozen cases of beer were discovered around the pool.
“That’s horrible. I think something needs to be done,” said Kim Tinker, of Lakewood.
“I am surprised. All the lifeguards that I’ve met have been very nice,” said Richard Nowakowski, of Avon.
Outside the pool, people were surprised to hear about the lifeguards in hot water.
Two guards, including a supervisor, resigned Monday. Seven others were suspended without pay.
“I just hope that’s enough to drive the lesson home,” said Jennifer Nowakowski, of Lakewood.
The city of Lakewood School District runs the city recreation centers and the pools.
Any hiring or firing of lifeguards is done by the Board of Education.
“The district believes the disciplinary action taken against the parties involved in this incident was appropriate, and matter is closed,” said the district in a statement.
But according to Mayor Summers, it’s not over yet.
“We’ve learned through the media that perhaps city rules were violated by bringing alcohol into the park. We now have an obligation to follow up,” said the mayor.
“I think that if people are supposed to be working here, they are here to protect the kids that come here. They shouldn’t be abusing their ability to get into the building,” said Megan McGaw, of Lakewood.
The incident was not captured by the one surveillance camera at the park.
Mayor Summers says five additional cameras will be added by the end of summer.