Toronto

Toronto teacher to stand trial in drowning of student on Algonquin Park trip

A teacher charged in the death of a Toronto high school student who drowned on a field trip two years ago has been ordered to stand trial.

Nicholas Mills is charged with criminal negligence causing the death of 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry

Jeremiah Perry, 15, died in July 2017 on a field trip to Algonquin Provincial Park. (Submitted by the Perry family)

A teacher charged in the death of a Toronto high school student who drowned on a field trip two years ago has been ordered to stand trial.

Nicholas Mills, 54, of Caledon is charged with criminal negligence causing death in connection with the drowning of 15-year-old Jeremiah Perry in July 2017.

Perry was on a week-long trip to Algonquin Provincial Park with other students from C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute when he went for a swim and vanished.

A police dive team found the boy's body the next day.

Mills had organized the field trip, which was part of the Toronto District School Board's (TDSB) REACH program.

The TDSB said that six adults accompanied the students to Algonquin, which is about 300 kilometres northeast of Toronto.

Teen did not pass swim test

The students were three days into the trip when Perry slipped under the water while swimming in Big Trout Lake. When he didn't resurface, staff called police, according to the TDSB.

It was later revealed by the TDSB that Perry did not pass a swim test before going on the trip.

The board said that 15 of the 32 children on the trip had failed their swim tests.

Perry's death prompted the TDSB to introduce new rules for field trips, including mandatory second swim tests at the site of the trip. The results of those swim tests will also be seen by more people to verify the results. 

Mills was arrested in July 2018.

His lawyer says he believes in his client and has confidence in the Toronto jury that will eventually hear the case.

With files from Amara McLaughlin

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