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Press Release: Ontario’s System of Isolation and Violence towards Disabled Youth in Schools must end.

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, 4 June 2024

Background: Photo of Landyn Ferris (young white child, brown hair, yellow flower in his hair, wearing a blue t-shirt with the biggest smile on his face) overlaid with dark transparency.  DJNO logo is at the top of the image to the right. Under the logo "ON THE DEATH OF" in yellow text, in larger font below it (still yellow) "LANDYN FERRIS" and in smaller text below that "AT TRENTON HIGH SCHOOL IN ONTARIO"

Press Release_ _ONTARIO’S SYSTEM OF ISOLATION AND VIOLENCE TOWARDS DISABLED YOUTH IN SCHOO
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Hamilton, Ontario—Today, in grief and rage, we mourn the completely preventable death of a child to Ontario’s system of punitive isolation and violent punishment towards Disabled Children in the education system. Landyn Ferris, a 16 year old with Dravet Syndrome, was neglected and abandoned by Trenton High School officials and was found unresponsive after a likely seizure ended his life.


We strongly support the family’s civil lawsuit on this matter and the current inquest by the Office of the Chief Coroner. “The reality is that for Disabled Children like Landyn, the education system is structurally unsafe and built to promote this kind of violence.” said Brad Evoy, Executive Director of Disability Justice Network of Ontario, “Our research and discussions with community members has shown that, sadly, Landyn is one child of many to experience the horrors of isolation, seclusion, and punishment designed to harm Disabled Youth in Ontario”.


Landyn’s family describes him as a kind, gentle, and unique child. Yet, his death is part of the broader pattern of the deaths of Disabled Children within the Provincial Education system. Just this past September, the Inquest into the death of 18-year-old Samuel Brown concluded with 21 recommendations to prevent more deaths of Disabled Children in the Education system. For Landyn, Samuel, and countless Disabled Youth in Ontario—enough is enough.


“We hope that we can begin a conversation across Ontario about the ways in which the Provincial public and Catholic education systems isolate and bring harm to Disabled students only looking to learn and grow”, noted Ahona Mehdi, Disability Justice Network of Ontario’s Education Coordinator, “And we will be there to fight for a better future for all Disabled Youth. We know that investigations can’t end with just Trenton High School, but with the practices of every School Board in Ontario.”


Disability Justice Network of Ontario will be releasing a wider report on these practices in Ontario schools in Fall 2024. The true campaign for safer schools for Disabled Youth across Ontario has begun. Youth, parents, educators, and community members are coming together for safety for all Disabled, racialized, and marginalized children within Ontario’s schools and for a better tomorrow for every youth like Landyn. 


For more on DJNO’s work on education, please visit: djno.ca/education-project

To support Landyn’s family, please see the GoFundMe set up in his name: https://www.gofundme.com/f/z5gh6-landyn 

  

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Media Contact: Brad Evoy - Executive Director, Disability Justice Network of Ontario

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