Coroner to hear motion on inquest into 2018 death at Brantford, Ont. school for the blind

WATCH: Parents say Samuel Brown’s death at W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind in February 2018 could have been prevented.

Ontario’s chief coroner is set to hear arguments this week to potentially resume an inquest tied to the 2018 death of a teen at a provincially run school in Brantford, Ont.

Samuel Brown, who attended W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind from the age of four, died just days before his 19th birthday, five years ago.

The province’s coroner granted a look into the death in 2020, only to postpone the probe in November 2021 telling Global News there were concerns over accessibility voiced by the disability community, as well as a need to further explore evidence.

Brown’ parents and counsel Saron Gebresellassi pushed for the inquest after preliminary reports the family received offered little detail on the cause of death and how staff responded to Samuel’s behaviour.

In a release on Tuesday, Dr. Karen Schiff said a doctor and counsel will listen to a motion “related to the pending inquest.”

Andrea Brown, Samuel’s mother, told Global News in 2019 the first sign of problems came on Feb. 8, 2018, when the school called advising that her son was acting “irritated” and was reluctant to get up for dinner.

She asked for a follow-up phone call that day, but the family said no one from the school called with an update. The school called the next day and told the family they were trying to wake Samuel up, but that he was “unresponsive.”

Andrea would press an administrator over the phone, asking whether her son had actually died. Staff from the school admitted that he had.

Gebresellassi told Global News in February that she had filed a motion for a new date.

“There’s been a motion on the desk for over a year,” she said. “They set a date two years ago and then cancelled it abruptly at the 11th hour.”

The office of the coroner will hear the motion remotely Thursday morning.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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