A Toronto teacher charged in connection with the drowning of a 15-year-old student who died on a school trip to Algonquin Park in 2017 will stand trial, a court heard Thursday.
Jeremiah Perry, who was a student at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in North York, drowned on July 4, 2017 while on a class canoe trip at the provincial park.
Perry and some of his classmates were swimming in Big Trout Lake when the teen disappeared under the water and did not resurface.
His body was found the following day by search and rescue divers.
Perry’s father subsequently told reporters that his son did not know how to swim and the school board later revealed that Perry was among 15 of the 32 students on the trip who had not passed a required swim test.
Last year, Ontario Provincial Police charged 55-year-old Nicolas Mills, a teacher at Perry’s school, with criminal negligence causing death in connection with the teen’s drowning.
Police previously confirmed that Mills designed the Algonquin Park trip itinerary, was responsible for the overall supervision of the trip, and was the designated team leader for Perry’s group.
During an appearance inside a North York courtroom on Thursday, Mills learned that his case will proceed to trial.
A trial date has not yet been set.
Philip Campbell, the lawyer for the accused, spoke briefly to reporters outside the courthouse after the proceedings on Thursday.
“I have a great deal of confidence in my client, in our case, and in Toronto juries,” Campbell said. “I expect that they will see this case as a matter of tragedy rather than criminality and we look forward to the day when it is over.”
The next court appearance for the accused is scheduled for Jan. 9 at the Superior Court of Justice on University Avenue in Toronto.
Following Perry’s death, the Toronto District School Board implemented new policies surrounding field trips, including requiring swim test results to be sent to parents and students.