Katelynn Sampson inquest hears from girl's principal
More TSDB officials, including Sampson's teacher, to speak at inquest in coming days
Katelynn Sampson's school principal told a coroner's inquest that he wishes he had done more to help the 7-year-old girl who died at the hands of her legal guardians.
Jim Smyth, the former principal at Parkdale Junior School, testified Wednesday at the inquest into Sampson's death in August, 2008. Several more Toronto District School Board officials, including Sampson's former teacher, are expected to testify in the coming days.
Smyth said he first met Sampson during the first week of school when nobody picked her up after class. Later, as Samson's biological mother, Bernice Sampson, and Donna Irving and her boyfriend Warren Johnson were locked in a custody battle, he contacted the Children's Aid Society (CAS) three times to confirm who was responsible for the girl's care.
I wish I could have taken it all back. I wish more information was shared with me from the agencies.- Jim Smyth, former principal at Parkdale Junior School
Irving provided the school with a document saying she had been caring for Sampson for five months and in April of 2008, Smyth said he noticed bruises on Katelynn Sampson's cheek and red marks on her hand.
When he contacted Irving, Smyth said she told him Sampson had burned her hand by bumping into a pot of boiling water and the bruises were the result of play-fighting.
Smyth said that made him "uncomfortable" and so he called the CAS, who told him they would investigate and get back to him. The agency never did, and Smyth didn't follow up.
"I wish I could have taken it all back. I wish more information was shared with me from the agencies," Smyth told the inquest.
Sampson died in August 2008 of septic shock after being beaten for months.
Irving and Johnson pleaded guilty to second-degree murder three years ago and were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years.
The Toronto District School Board said it has "intensified training" regarding principals and other school staff's duty to report following the inquest into Jeffrey Baldwin's death.
"It's something that we take as priority number one," the TDSB's Sherri Schwartz-Maltz told CBC News.
The coroner's inquest is set to continue today.