Dress code for controversial Oakville teacher fails to materialize

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Published June 23, 2023 at 2:06 pm

A former Oakville Trafalgar High School teacher who made worldwide headlines with her large prosthetic breasts is returning to the classroom this September in Hamilton. FACEBOOK PHOTO

A new staff dress code at Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Halton Hills public schools will have to wait until next fall.

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) took a pass on implementing a new professionalism policy at its final meeting of the school year on Wednesday (June 21), a measure aimed at addressing the controversy over an Oakville Trafalgar High School teacher whose attire has garnered her worldwide attention because of her exaggerated breasts, tight clothing and long blonde wig she wore in the classroom.

HDSB trustees unanimously voted down a new policy and instead put it in the hands of staff to come up and implement specific and clear language within already existing policies for them to review in the fall.

Parent groups have been expecting a decision on the matter since the beginning of this year.

“I certainly am in agreement with the proposal and direction to strengthen the existing policies and procedures that we have and, certainly, as we move forward, that is something that I am committed to doing along with the staff,’ HDSB Director of Education Curtis Ennis said.

HDSB vice-chair Tanya Rocha pointed to a discussion held at last week’s committee of the whole as to the merits and need for this policy.

She said she agrees with Ennis’ suggestion of looking at other policies where the board could strengthen some language or reference different regulations that address the highly-controversial topic.

“I will not be supporting this policy this evening,” said Rocha. “I think it’s been made abundantly clear that we do have the policies, procedures and regulations in place that address all forms of professionalism. When I looked at the draft policy that’s been presented, there’s nothing really new.

“It’s really a summary of everything that exists, so it begs the question, ‘do we really need this?’ In my opinion, we do not.”

The Oakville Trafalgar shop teacher, known as Kayla Lemieux, is no longer teaching at the school. Her prosthetic breasts and tight clothes in classrooms drew parents and protestors to board meetings to voice their outrage over the issue.

Back in March, senior staff, at the request of the Board, put together a draft of a professionalism policy to address the controversial issue.

Now the board is making it clear they believe they already have the existing tools to deal with any staff dress code issues.

“We have a lot of policies that are already in place at the board, that we really need to focus on what we have,” said HDSB Chair Margo Shuttleworth. “And rather than create a new document, which might muddy the water, we need to ensure that the language is clear in the policies that we have to ensure that professionalism is at our schools.”

 

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