A Department of Education investigation into the drowning of sixth grader Nicole Suriel during a class trip to Long Beach slammed Columbia Secondary School for poor planning that led to the tragedy. The beach had numerous signs noting there were no lifeguards on duty; there were three adults supervising the 24 students. The DOE fired first-year teacher Erin Bailey and disciplined assistant principal Andrew Stillman and Principal Jose Maldonado-Rivera.

The Daily News runs down some of the findings, including how "Assistant Principal Andrew Stillman decided at the last minute not to go, staying behind to do administrative work. Bailey's boyfriend - former teacher Joseph Garnevicus, 28 - went in Stillman's place, but couldn't swim." Also, "There weren't specific permission slips, just 'blanket' slips from the start of the year that didn't include swimming." The "blanket slips" were only for trips in Manhattan; instead of issuing a permission slip to parents, Stillman simply emailed them, "We're headed to the beach tomorrow."

According to the Post, a student told investigators that Bailey told students, "If you can’t swim, don’t go in the water past your waist; don’t go past the rocks," but the powerful currents swept some students further out into the water: "Nicole Suriel, who didn’t know how to swim, disappeared into the ocean for more than an hour after wading into water that reached above her knees and below her waist, according to one student." Other beach goers tried to save Nicole, but to no avail: One man managed to grab her, but he was overwhelmed by a current and went under, losing hold of her.

Both Stillman, who will be removed from his administrative position and "demoted to a teaching position," and Maldonado-Rivera assumed there would be lifeguards at the beach. The Times reports, "The report describes a last-minute decision to send the class to the beach as a reward for raising money in a school walk-a-thon. Mr. Stillman chose Long Beach, he told investigators, because he had been there with his family and knew it was easy to get to on public transportation."