Writing Jaedyn’s Law

About 5,000 people want the Yukon government to pass a new law to ensure the safety of soccer nets in the territory. "We haven't ruled out creating legislation," said Scott Kent, minister of Education on Thursday.

About 5,000 people want the Yukon government to pass a new law to ensure the safety of soccer nets in the territory.

“We haven’t ruled out creating legislation,” said Scott Kent, minister of Education on Thursday.

But the government hasn’t said it would create a new law just yet either.

The family of five-year-old Jaedyn Amann has been advocating for some sort of regulation since the young girl was killed when a soccer net at the Watson Lake Secondary School field fell and hit her on the back of the head.

It may sound like a freak accident, but Jaedyn was actually the second child in Canada to die from a falling soccer net this year. She also marks number 94 in an unofficial list of children killed by falling soccer nets in North America.

“Once we dug into it and started finding more information, we just about dropped to the floor,” said Paul Amann, Jaedyn’s father. “Why the government didn’t step in ages ago is unbelievable. Most of these soccer nets are on government property, or municipal property. The numbers are too high. They should have never gotten to where they are. We don’t want to read about another kid dying.”

Friends of the family have started Facebook pages and online petitions, urging for regional and federal laws.

As of press time, the online petition for Jaedyn’s Law had 4,968 signatures.

But that petition won’t be officially accepted by the Yukon legislative assembly.

Only hard-copy petitions with actual signatures can be accepted, said Floyd McCormick, clerk of the territory’s legislature.

The family, which lives in both B.C. and Watson Lake, has only heard from one politician in support of some sort of law since Jaedyn’s death on July 4. It was an MLA from B.C., said Amann.

If he could write it tomorrow, the grieving father would have the law ban all collapsible nets, like the one that killed Jaedyn. These nets have hinges that allow them to be folded up and packed away. Jaedyn’s Law would also ensure all movable nets, which are solid but can tip, have federally-approved anchoring systems.

The law would also ensure the anchoring and safety of any movable net would be inspected regularly, said Amann.

Kent wouldn’t comment on when the net in Watson Lake was last inspected. That information will come out with the coroner’s, RCMP’s and the department’s internal investigations into Jaedyn’s tragic death, he said.

Any decision on a territorial law, like the one Amann is proposing, will also not be made until those investigations are done, Kent added.

The family has been approached by a B.C. lawyer who has offered to help write the law, but if the territory does agree to legislation, it will have to go through the proper, internal processes, said Kent.

Now back in B.C., the family is trying to move on as best it can.

“There’s a big void,” said Amann.

Jaedyn’s 3 1/2-year-old brother, Parker, is having the hardest time, said Amann.

He was playing on the soccer field with Jaedyn when the net fell on her.

“He saw and heard her gurgling,” said Amann.

Now, Parker has severe anxiety any time he gets the hiccups or feels there is something at the back of his throat, said Amann.

The little boy also has severe separation anxiety, which has left the family looking for a constant playmate for him, Amann added.

“Last night, at dinner, he said he missed Jaedyn,” Amann said, choking up.

The support of the communities, both in B.C. and Watson Lake has been phenomenal, Amann added.

Watson Lake has since renamed its Lucky Lake playground, just south of town, Jaedyn’s Park.

“The public support is awesome, I just wish the government would grab ahold of this and take a stand,” he said. “But I guess it’s us, the people, that have to make that happen.”

To sign the online petition, go to www.jaedynslaw.com

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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