Canada is about to change the safety rules when it comes to school trips, after a student from Toronto drowned on a canoe trip organized by the school. The 15-year-old student was named Jeremiah Perry and studied at C.W Jefferys Collegiate. The tragic event took place at Algonquin Park in July and the Toronto District School Board stated that the student did not pass the required swim test.
Education Minister Mitzie Hunter told reporters that this event is deeply troubling since the Toronto District School Board policy meant to prevent children who cannot swim from going on such trips was completely ignored. For this reason, approximately $300,000 were invested in survival swim programs that have as purpose making sure students have access to water safety skills. The main focus of this review is to make sure policies like TDSB promote are obeyed by everybody in the educational system.
In the future, trips will be approved after the principal acknowledges the situation of students, as well as their swim tests. In the C.W Jefferys Collegiate situation there is an amounts of uncertainty regarding the principal ever seeing any results of the swim test, despite the fact that board policy dictates that the principal should have personally approved the trip. The standard procedure involves the parents also, who have to sign a form that includes a space to sign off on high-care activities like canoeing and also list required accommodations. Once the trip is approved, the teacher has to fulfill these conditions, and then the principal takes a look at it and trusts the teacher to respect those requirements.
A Toronto principal who spoke anonymously stated that the school administration should already be one the case to search the paperwork for trips like this one that is considered a high-risk activity and also adds that the buck eventually stops with the principal. Two of the teachers who were involved in the excursions refused to speak to the board and the principal was not put on leave. However, the teachers are going to be disciplined in accordance with the board policies.