Danville: Hundreds gather for candlelight vigil on anniversary of Ben Curry's death

Family thanks community for support during 'an unbelievably difficult year'

After sharing their stories of Ben, attendees raised their candles to the sky. (photo by Ryan J. Degan)

On the one-year anniversary of the on-campus drowning death of San Ramon Valley High School freshman Ben Curry, hundreds of loved ones and supportive community members gathered in front of the Danville Library on Wednesday to hold a candlelight vigil and honor the memory of the Danville teenager.

Ben’s parents, Karen and Tom, as well as his sister Katrina, were present and each gave brief comments to the crowd on what an impact Ben had on their family and thanked the community for the outpouring of support their family received in the aftermath of young Ben's death.

“As you can imagine, it's been an unbelievably difficult year and its a year we would not have been able to get through without all of you,” Karen told the audience. “We are so appreciative for all you have done and continue to do for us... We could not possibly name all of the people who have been by our side in so many ways over the past year.”

“It was a godsend to be able to think about people thinking of us, caring about us and wanting us to be able to deal with what had happened,” Tom added. “I love you Ben, and not a day goes by that I’m not reminded of the depth of my love for you.”

At the vigil, attendees read aloud notes of how Ben had touched their lives highlighting the lasting impact Ben had on the people he came into contact with.

“I know it's not always easy to know what to do or what to say to people who lose all that Ben was to us, but I truly don’t know how I would have made it through this past year without the compassion that you all gave in (one) way or another,” Katrina said.

Ben Curry drowned during his physical education class in the San Ramon Valley High School pool on May 8, 2018. Sometime during class Ben slipped underwater and became unresponsive, but he was not discovered submerged in the pool until the start of the next class, after the school’s lunch-period.

In the wake of the drowning, the Contra Costa County Coroner's Office and District Attorney’s Office found no signs of foul play nor criminal negligence with regard to the boy’s death, deeming that his drowning was an accident.

The Curry family is currently contesting the no-negligence finding, and on Nov. 27, filed a lawsuit against the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, claiming that negligence and willful misconduct resulted in the freshman's death.

The suit alleges that not only did the SRVUSD fail to install proper safety policies to prevent Curry's death, but that the boy's physical education teacher failed to properly supervise the class, which was comprised of 57 students.

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