Boot Camp Cadet Dies at Fla. State Park

New York Times/August 13, 2006

North Miami -- A 13-year-old cadet at a private military academy died Saturday during an orientation camping trip, the school's principal said.

Authorities rushed the child from Oleta State Park to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, North Miami police said.

The cause of death was undetermined, pending a medical examiner's report, police said. No additional information was released.

The boy was one of 33 cadets attending the Back to Basics Christian Military Academy's Training and Leadership Corps campout. The students, in grades 4-10, had been camping since Wednesday, Lynda Browne, the school's principal and owner, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for Sunday's edition.

The boy got out of bed in the middle of the night to tell a drill sergeant he didn't feel well, Browne said. He collapsed on the way to the restroom.

Browne said the boy's mother told her that her son "wasn't the most physical, strong or athletic child."

She said the academy subcontracts with Fort Lauderdale-based Juvenile Military Training and Leadership Corp. The camp is run by certified National Guard drill sergeants.

"The children get the very best of care," Browne told the newspaper. "Under no circumstances are our students brutalized, nor are they maligned verbally. They are treated with the utmost respect."

Brown and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission did not return messages Saturday from The Associated Press.

In January, a 14-year-old boy died after a confrontation with guards at a Panama City boot camp for juvenile offenders operated by the Bay County Sheriff's Office. Martin Lee Anderson died one day after being roughed up by guards.

His death remains under investigation. The state's government-operated military-style boot camp system was shutdown in May.

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