Outside his family home in Barrhaven, Patrick Leighton holds a photo of his son Eric
Credits: JUSTIN SADLER/QMI AGENCY
Patrick and Sheri Leighton have called for a coroner's inquest into the death of their son Eric, 18, who died as a result of injuries sustained in his shop class in May 2011.
Eric and his classmates at Mother Teresa High School were making barbecues from steel barrels, using hand grinders, when a spark ignited vapours in the barrel and caused an explosion.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board was fined $275,000 on Aug. 16, after pleading guilty to failing as an employer to provide the teacher with instruction and supervision on safe work practices and the dangers associated with the project.
Patrick Leighton said the fine didn't bring any closure to the family, and they are taking the case to the province.
The family will be joined by Nepean-Carleton MPP, Lisa MacLeod.
"I think pleading guilty was an easy way out," Patrick Leighton said of the school board. "If there's no inquest, it's all done, sweep it under the carpet and move on. But right now, I don't feel justified."
Leighton said he would like to see changes made in the school board so that teachers must have projects approved before they're handed to students.
He explained the project in Eric's class that day was not approved by the board.
"I think every school needs some sort of guidelines in place where if you want to bring in a project that things need to be approved by more than one person, and that's how it's done. The government isn't run by just one person, it's multiple people and that's how things get changed," he said.
Leighton said his request to have classroom projects pre-approved was brushed-off when he stated his case to the board.
"Basically, I was told it's too hard to monitor every school and too hard to review every project. Well, a kid lost his life because it was too hard to review a project. There's got to be something that can be done."
Along with change, Leighton said he'd like to see someone take responsibility for what happened.
"Some accountability is all I'm asking for. Stand up and say, ‘I screwed up, I messed up, and because of it a kid lost his life,'" he said.
"But there's been no accountability."