Lifeguards Resign After Alcohol Pool Party

As many as two cases of beer found at Lakewood Park's Foster Pool during the 4th of July event; seven other lifeguards suspended without pay.

A Madison Pool lifeguard and her supervisor have resigned after a large party that involved alcohol at on July 4.

Seven other lifeguards were suspended without pay for two weeks. All but one of them work at Lakewood Park's Foster Pool. 

The incident was discovered when a city worker opened the pool so the mayor could make an announcement regarding the .

Suspicious about the off-duty lifeguards at the pool, he notified aquatics director Matt Demaline, who said he found as many as two cases of beer at the pool.

Some were full, some were empty, said Demaline. 

“I had suspicions that they were doing something they shouldn’t be doing,” he said, adding that he didn't discover the beer cans until after he dismissed the lifeguards. “But I didn’t observe anyone drinking.”

The police weren’t notified about the pool party, which may have included underage drinking.

Instead, the school district — which oversees the recreation department and the pools — turned the investigation over to its human resources department.

“Nobody was proven definitely to be drinking,” said school district spokeswoman Christine Gordillo. “All of them denied drinking.”

However, a supervisor and a lifeguard each turned in their resignations, which the board of education accepted on Monday.

“The district feels that these are young people who made poor choices,” Gordillo said. “The administration felt that asking for their resignations (as opposed to firing them) wouldn’t mar their future opportunities.”

One Lakewood resident, who asked not to be identified, wrote to Lakewood Patch noting that the remaining lifeguards “can’t believe that these people did not get fired or arrested.”

Reports that parents of the lifeguards considered legal action should they be fired were not confirmed.

Most of the lifeguards are older than 18, but younger than 21.

“I believe this was out of character for these kids,” Demaline said. “We have over 100 employees. I don’t believe this is indicative of the entire staff. These are good kids who made a questionable decision.”

The suspended lifeguards, who are part-time, seasonal employees, are set to begin working again July 19.

“We hope everyone learns from these mistakes," said Demaline. "We will continue to offer a safe aquatics program.”

Alexandra July 11, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Gosh I miss living in Europe and the lack of hysterical and outraged people who are self righteous. While it was wrong according to the rules, to slam the Board is Education is a little too hysterical. I wish the pool was NOT under the control, only because of the hours of operations and some very silly rules. The drinking age USED to be 18, which in fairness is logical. You can vote and die for your country, blah blah. It was wrong to do it in the park on public property, but other than that and no breathalyzers involved? Technically the only evidence was some beer on the premises. BTW that was a really hot day, my kid passes out due temps...heat can make you goofy too and I work in the medical field We have turned into a disgusting nanny state, I net many here slamming this probably tried to do similar things when they were teens.
Paul Grimm July 11, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Why does the Board of Education run the pools and the rec dept.?
Rachel K. July 11, 2012 at 05:45 PM
I agree with everyone EXCEPT lindarich. My gosh, I love this town, but some folks who live here are SO UPTIGHT and JUDGMENTAL. For example, I read the police blotter weekly and cant believe the reasons people call the police -- a bloody knife in the middle of the street which turned out not to be bloody? Really people? I think the police have better things to do and some of YOU need to pay more attention to your own lives rather than being a nuisance. Kids are always making mistakes. I think the punishment suited the crime. Cripe.
Colin McEwen July 11, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Good question, Paul. Lakewood is only one of a couple of cities in Ohio in which the schools run the recreation department. It was structured that way many years ago.
Jenni Westphal Lizanich July 11, 2012 at 06:01 PM
As dramatic sounding as lindarich sounds... I agree with the point she makes that the police should have handled the matter. If alcohol would have been found on 18-20 year olds in Lakewood park that day the police would have handled it, they would not have been handed over to the rec dept or school board. As a mother of two kids and a nanny of two little girls all of whom visit both Madison and Foster pools I am relieved to know they were not on duty while drinking alcohol, they just should have made better choices to take their underage drinking to another location or to not drink at all.
Chris July 11, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Think back.. did you not make a few mistakes while testing out adulthood as a teenager? They were off duty. I remember doing the exact same thing at a lake after hours with the gang that I worked with as a lifeguard. If we were caught we would have been yelled at and our parents would have been notified. End of story.
Steve July 11, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Here is a senario for you all. Only 2, 18 year olds were drinking, but they were the drivers for the others and as they left, they ran over a family of 5 waiting for the fireworks, killing and injuring all. It happens all the time, right? The law was broken, but we should not look the other way. Thank god no one was hurt. The parents should have been involved as well, not looking for lawyers, but reprimanding their children for their bad choice's. End of story.
will July 11, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Ok, the article mentioned Madison pool so I thought it was there. Anyways, they still had lifeguards at the Madison pool until almost 7pm on the 4th. So it must have happened later.
Tom July 12, 2012 at 12:31 AM
The guards were OFF DUTY and relaxing after a very HOT DAY. Yes they did something Very Stupid but that is what people their ages do. Yes it was illegal but the overreaction by some people is such that it would lead you to believe that they themselves never made any stupid or questionable decisions early in their life. I would find this very hard to believe of most people who are now adults.
Tom July 12, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Discipline was given. A few of the 100 employees were involved. No lives were endangered and I hope it never happens again. To state that you should be careful that you don't have an intoxicated guard trying to save your child life is absurd. Once again some peoples reactions go way over the top from what the details say happened. You should be happy that these lifeguards (though questionable in some of their off duty behavior) would be willing to risk their life everyday they go up in the chairs to save children who either don't know how to properly swim and/or do not follow the safety rules that have been established. There is far more to be concerned about people who bring children or drop them off at the pool and then assume no responsibility for how they behave in the pool or on the deck. Take responsibility for your children. The guards are not your babysitter but are there to watch the lives of hundreds of people in the pool and provide them aid if there is an accident or the swimmers do something stupid that puts their lives and also possibly the lives of the guards themselves.
Tom July 12, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Lifegurds not an easy job and not one that will make you rich. I am proud of anyone of them I have dealt with over the years at this pool and thank them for the difficut job they do everyday. Thank You
Katie July 12, 2012 at 02:10 AM
" There is far more to be concerned about people who bring children or drop them off at the pool and then assume no responsibility for how they behave in the pool or on the deck." AMEN. These are obviously a bunch of college aged kids having a little fun. If there were two cases for 8 college kids then I am not too concerned. There could have been drugs, the guards could have been inebriated to the point where an officer would have HAD to arrest them, etc... Matt Demaline obviously knows his guards and is understanding enough to give them a second chance. I would also like to point out he let go of two guards (the manager none the less- the bad example). It had nothing to do with their performances as lifeguards. I am much more concerned about the kids who are left at the pool without parents or supervision. These guards deserve a couple drinks after having to look after those kids all day- trust me I've witnessed it. Some of the kids who go to the pool at Becks are relentless and have absolutely no discipline. The guards sit them out regularly, sometimes kicking them out of the pool; some of the kids in the pool are extremely disrespectful toward these guards and they handle it with patience and dignity. A little drinking situation doesn't make me lose one bit of respect for them. Now if we could take care of that problem earlier on in life we would have a much safer community!
Katie July 12, 2012 at 02:20 AM
These guards were not drinking while on duty. They were having a little fun after hours, and while no it should not have been on the pool deck and it is not okay, they should not lose their jobs over this. You should see some of the things they actually put of with... I encourage you to go spend a day at Becks pool and observe these guards. I assure you that you would be much more outraged by what they have to deal with on a daily basis.
John Snow July 12, 2012 at 03:02 AM
The fact is they broke the law. They were (with the exception of the manager) under the age of 21. I believe Mayor Summers is doing the right thing by looking into this further as he stated on Fox 8 tonight.
Suzie Snowey July 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Nine "so-called" adults...Mayor caught with egg on his face, Education/Recreation bending rules for "select" few, Aquatics Director's reputation ruined and future uncertain. Oh and "Katie" voicing opinions on parenting skills! Alcohol not permitted at park, breaking/entering/trespassing...underage drinking. Lakewood makes news and looks foolish. Pretty sure the Education/Recreation's "employees handbook" states no drugs or alcohol. NEW precedence set, how will you handle your next employee; when the are arguing for a "two week suspension". Matt Demaline (?) "know his lifeguards". Well that trust has been broken. A good man, now fighting for his career, probably went to bat for all 9 of you for raises each year, helped get Winter and Spring break hours for all of you. Nice way to repay him! "Katie" you missed the point completely, this was not about your work conditions but about your fellow empoyees breaking the laws. How about the other innocent lifeguards, who now get to pick up these hours and here the snickering about them. Don't like the job, find another. As for this mess, sure bet there are still a lot of kids looking for "summer jobs"!
johnsmith July 12, 2012 at 12:23 PM
This is a total inaccurate account of what happened...it is crazy how biased and loaded the story (and some of the reactions) can be, and how it can skew the actual facts.
Jenni Westphal Lizanich July 12, 2012 at 04:36 PM
If this story is inaccurate how do you feel about setting The record straight? Its hard for the reader to think the story is anything but accurate when people in charge are resigning. I certainly would not resign from my job if I am innocent.
Steve July 12, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Question I have is, why did the Mayor Summers, not contact the police when HE found them after hours, on public property, drinking under age. Does the mayor not have any faith in police force, or was it because he may have known soom of the young adults? If the employees at his business would have been caught drinking, say on the loading dock, would his response have been the same? It seems to be the same old double standards that has haunted Lakewood for a long time. Well done Mr. Mayor,You proved my case.
Tom July 13, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Once again I will repeat Discipline was given. A few of the 100 employees were involved. No lives were endangered and I hope it never happens again. If they fired all involved for their indiscretions they would probably have to close the Madison Pool for the rest of the season. Lifeguards do not just come off the street. They need to go thru extensive and strenuous training to even be considered for a position at either pool. This doesn't mean though that their mind still doesn't work like most teenagers. We are now a week past the incident. Let those who are supervisors handle the situation as they see fit. Move on with your lives people. There are many more serious offenses happening everyday in Lakewood that thank goodness never come to you your attention. If you knew all of them you would be packing tonite or tomorrow at the latest to leave this city you love.
Katie July 13, 2012 at 04:26 AM
The point is that you are over reacting "Suzie Snowey." I am not a lifeguard, I am a reasonable person who is more worried about more dangerous things going on in this city than a mistake many of us would have made had we been put in the same situation as young adults. Lakewood gets this kind of attention for a minor underage alcohol offense, which happens how often? In how many cities? and harmed how many people? Happens on a daily basis everywhere and this situation harmed zero people. I would like to point out that those guards would not have been discovered had the mayor not walked in and witnessed it, so I assume they were not causing a huge ruckus. I am not disagreeing with anything about the circumstances Matt Demaline has been put under or the fact that it was wrong of these kids to do; I'm merely pointing out we have much more important things to be worried about.
Adrienne July 13, 2012 at 11:40 AM
Were all of not young once and made bad decisions? You are so quick to blame the young and naive. It's called growing up. You make bad choices. Stop embarrassing these children and let them grow up to be good people. This is wrong to be so harsh. No one died. Get off your horse and touch the ground we all walk on.
Adrienne July 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Adrienne July 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Answer is Mr. Summers is not a jerk. No lives lost. Children make bad choices, growing up. If you continue to tell them the are bad they will be. They made a bad choice, that's all. Get over yourself and stop being mean.
Jessie July 13, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Hi everyone all of the parents who are acting like these employees are drinking on the job because they may have had some beer on a holiday need to get over themselves. the only reason any one noticed the get together at foster pool was because the fireworks were cancelled! Also, there are a lot of false statements in this story. A few people slip in to a comfortable place to watch the fireworks when lakewood park is at its peak of congestion on the fourth of July. They were literally there for an hour and didn't even go into the pool to cause a scene. If you had keys you would save yourself from the portable bathrooms too so don't act so high and mighty!
Jenni Westphal Lizanich July 14, 2012 at 02:12 AM
What are the false statements?
johnsmith July 14, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Jenni, your ignorance amazes me. These lifeguards were forced to resign. Initally, all 8 lifeguards and the manager were brought it, given their letter and told to sign it. They were not allowed to ask questions. When one guard did start to ask questions, the direction of human resources was called in, and she told the guard that he could either sign his letter or get arrested for trespassing. That isn't just the free-willed "resignation" that this story makes it out to be.
johnsmith July 14, 2012 at 10:41 PM
This story also left out the fact that there were 20 or so non-employees present, who were the ones who brought beer and were drinking. When Matt Demaline came, he let all of the non-employees go free, and kept the 7 or so guards that were present.
Jenni Westphal Lizanich July 15, 2012 at 02:33 AM
How does my inquiring about the real story make me ignorant? It seems to me that if your story is the true story, which it very well may be, then the Lakewood Patch has some explaining to do. The Lakewood Patch should also look into what really happened. I think you may have taken the tone on my question a bit different than I intended it to be. If you want the truth to be told, you might want to tell it in a way that doesn't offend the people seeking the truth.
jane doe July 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Dear Suzie. There are many things I would like to say to you that are inappropriate to be seen on the Internet, but I wont voice them. I would like you to know that i am one of the "innocent" lifeguards at Becks. You are completely ignorant about what really happened, and what it is like for the "innocent" lifeguards. I personally am more concerned with how parents abandon their children at the pool I work at, therefore making me have to not only watch out for drowning victims but also babysit children who deliberately disobey rules until we are forced to kick them out. If you witnessed what lifeguards have to deal with at Becks Pool, your opinion will change. And as for the incident on the 4th, you must not of been aware that there were about 20 non-employees present at Foster who both supplied and drank the beer. The Patch must have left that out. I am not defending my fellow employees: they made a mistake. But i know each of them personally, and none of them deserve strangers critiquing them. Thank you. Also, you used the incorrect form of "hear" in your comment. You're welcome again.
jane doe July 15, 2012 at 10:47 PM
I completely agree with you. It is ridiculous what the guards have to go through on a daily basis.


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