Mother of teen who drowned on school trip files lawsuit

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The mother of a teenager who drowned during a school-sponsored trip overseas said it was heartbreaking to see the video of her son's last moments alive.

Forbes knew her son took his head mounted video camera but it did not come back to the states with his body. Two weeks ago, it was returned to her.

"We now have in our possession the video cam with the videotape that is completely intact," attorney C.K. Hoffler said.

Her 14-year-old son, 30 other students and nine chaperones went to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize in 2016.

Forbes attorneys said the footage proves that the chaperones were not properly supervising the students.


Forbes filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Cobb County school district and the chaperones who were on the trip to Belize, as well as the wildlife sanctuary where her son drowned and its owner.

She broke down into tears and had to leave the room when the video was described during a news conference.

Forbes wondered why it took an hour for someone to notice he was missing.

Channel 2's Tom Jones watched part of the video, which showed Jackson struggling with students and chaperones nearby.

Jackson reached out and touched a student, but she told him to stop, not realizing that he was in trouble.

You hear him cry out for help, but no one hears him. He goes under and eventually you see the bottom of the river.

Forbes' attorneys said the students were not wearing life vests and that the group left the sanctuary leaving Jackson behind.

"They didn't do a head count," Forbes said.

The school district said it can not comment on pending litigation.

Forbes' attorneys initially planned to release the video to the public, then decided to think longer about releasing it.

"He will never say to me, 'Mom, I love you' which he did multiple times throughout the day," Forbes said.

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