Family calls for inquest in death of disabled son at school for the blind

BRANTFORD — The family of a disabled teenager who died at a provincially run school for the blind is calling for an inquest into what they describe as his unexplained death on school grounds.

Samuel Brown had attended the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ont., from the age of four until his death in February 2018, weeks shy of his 19th birthday.

His mother, Andrea Brown, says the school called her on Feb. 8 to advise that her son, who was deaf, blind and non-verbal, was acting fussy and reluctant to get up for dinner.

He died some time overnight, and Brown says preliminary coroner’s reports and the results of an autopsy offer conflicting causes of death.

She says she wants a formal inquest to get to the bottom of her son’s death and to prevent similar events at schools serving vulnerable children.

  1. Ross Macdonald, which answers to the Ontario Ministry of Education rather than a local school board, was the subject of a class-action lawsuit that was settled in 2017.

The suit alleged decades worth of physical, emotional and sexual abuse involving students who had attended the school from the early 1950s to the late 2000s.

It was settled a day before it was to go to trial.

The principal of W. Ross Macdonald declined to comment on Samuel Brown’s death, and the provincial coroner’s office says it currently does not have any plans to open an inquest.

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