Okay so here is what we know happened last Friday at Applewood Heights outdoor swimming pool in Mississauga. Shazia Dawood was standing close to the pool supervising her 11-year-old autistic daughter Birra Alyas who was in the shallow end. But the child seemed to be moving toward the deeper part of the pool and so for safety reasons, a female lifeguard told the girl she wasn’t allowed in the deep end as she hadn’t passed a swimming test. She was asked to leave the pool as her mother refused to get in with her. Why? Because firstly being in the swimming pool filled with men and boys and wearing a swimsuit was against her religion.
Her daughter could have continued swimming had her mother or some adult got in with her. Apparently the child looked younger than her age and the rule states that children 9 and under have to be supervised in the pool by an adult.
According to the mother, she saw the pool staff smiling and laughing at the two of them, leading her to believe this was racism and discrimination.
But was it? When children regardless of their age show difficulty in the water, lifeguards routinely insist an adult supervisor remains with the child in the water at all times for safety purposes.
While 9 is an age when it is mandatory to have an adult in the water with the child who hasn’t passed a swim test, there are times older children who may have the built of a younger child could be at risk too.
While Ms Dawood said she has received an apology from the aquatics supervisor, she and her family is convinced racism played a part.
But that could be a stretch because language could clearly be an issue, having an autistic child unsupervised in the water could have been a concern to lifeguards who then recommended the mother get in the pool, which was not possible. As for lifeguard staff laughing at the mother and daughter, the charge needs to be backed up by witnesses. – CINEWS