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OPP to investigate drowning of Jeremiah Perry

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017

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The entrance to Algonquin Provincial Park on May 11, 2009. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Wladyslaw
The Ontario Provincial Police will investigate the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry, who drowned while on a school trip to Algonquin Park last month.

Perry had been swimming with a group of students when he went underwater and didn’t resurface. His body was found a day later by search and rescue divers.

Last week, the Toronto District School Board announced that Perry hadn’t passed a mandatory swim test before the trip.

The board’s director of education, John Malloy, said that of the 32 students who went on the multi-day canoe trip to Algonquin Park in July, 15 had failed the swim test. There was no documentation for two of the students, he said.

Malloy said all students on the trip were required to pass a swim test set out by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, which included a rolling entry into deep water, treading water for a minute and a 50-metre continuous swim.

“I’m deeply troubled by these findings, that such a critical safety requirement in our procedures appears not to have been followed,” said Malloy.

“On behalf of the TDSB, I offer our most sincere apology and regret. I also want to apologize to the families of the other students who went on the trip, even though they did not pass the swim test.”

“The information that we have is the students did not pass the test and should not have been on the trip,” Malloy said.

Two teachers who were on the trip have been placed on home assignment as a result of the incident, he added.

New procedures have already been put in place, according to Malloy, who said that school principals will now have to see a list of students who passed or failed a required swim test before the trip takes place, and that parents will be notified if their child passed or failed the test.

More to come

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