Eric Leighton's family back inquest suggested recommendations
Suggestions include Ontario school board keeping list of approved projects for high school technology classes
Eric Leighton's parents say they support the recommendations suggested to a jury at a coroner's inquest into the May 2011 shop class explosion that killed their son.
Eric Leighton was attempting to cut into a closed drum with a hand grinder tool on May 26, 2011, when sparks from the tool ignited a cleaning solvent inside the barrel, causing the explosion. Leighton suffered severe head trauma and was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The inquest's five jurors have been deliberating since Tuesday afternoon and could come back with their recommendations as early as Wednesday.
But before they began deliberations, lawyers at the inquest gave them a set of 23 recommendations to consider.
The suggested recommendations include but are not limited to:
- Ontario school boards should maintain a list of approved student projects for high school technology classes.
- School boards should establish safety guidelines for high school technology classes.
- Safety passports for tools and equipment should be obtained by a student before they're allowed access to it.
- Consideration should be given to not allowing any hot work on closed containers in high school technical shops.
Eric's father Patrick Leighton said implementing the rules should be a "no-brainer."
"Put these rules in place and there's no risk," said Leighton.
The inquest jury may choose to recommend some or all of the suggested recommendations, or come up with its own recommendations.
Patrick Leighton said he's happy to have the inquest come to an end, but said he had hoped for more of an apology from shop class teacher Scott Day.
Day had assigned Eric Leighton the barbecue-making project, had obtained the old oil barrel and had instructed classmate Adam Soliman to clean the drum with what turned out to be a flammable solvent.
But he told the inquest he hadn't given Leighton any approval to start cutting the barrel when the explosion happened.
"Eric meant a lot to him, in his words, and he meant a lot to Eric, we know that for a fact, he really enjoyed his class and I kind of wish he would have showed Eric a bit more respect in that aspect," said Patrick Leighton.
Leighton's family filed a $400,000 lawsuit against Day and the Ottawa Catholic School Board in May of 2013.