Questions raised about the drowning of Guyana-born teenager

Jeremiah Perry

Investigations are continuing into the circumstances surrounding the death last week of Jeremiah Perry, a 15-year old student of C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute who drowned in a lake in Algonquin Park.

The Guyana-born teenager who was with a group of students on an educational trip, was reported to have been  swimming in Big Trout Lake around 8 p.m. on Tuesday July 4  last when he went under the water and did not resurface.

His older brother, Marion, was also on the trip.

Police were called and Jeremiah’s body was subsequently found in the lake around 3.25 p.m. the following day.

Did Jeremiah Perry know how to swim?

Did he pass  the ” swim test” required by the school before he was allowed to go on the trip?

Was he wearing a life jacket while he was in the lake?

Was there proper supervision of  the students ?

Was a lifeguard present?

These are some of the questions for which answers are being sought.

Joshua Anderson, the boy’s father, told the media that his son did not know how to swim.

But John Malloy, director of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), said that students were required to pass swim and canoe skills test before being allowed to go on the trip.

Malloy explained that it was TDSB practice to follow the safety guidelines set  by the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association. These requirements  include a minute of treading water and being able to swim 50 meters.

Boran Baki, 17, one of the students from C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate Institute who was also on the trip, told the media that he, along with Jeremiah, and other students ” went together for a swim.”

Baki said a lifeguard was present when they went into the water.

He also said that he was wearing a lifejacket but Jeremiah was not.

In a statement, Malloy said the coroner and Ontario Provincial Police have requested ” information surrounding the trip …including swim test information for Jeremiah.”

As a result of the demands from the investigators, the TDSB ” will not be commenting further on these specific circumstances at this time.”