March 25, 2019 8:01 pm

Parents outraged after Manitoba school vice-principal asks to see kids’ underwear waistbands

Carman Elementary School has come under fire after its vice-principal recently asked to see the underwear bands of Grade 4 and 5 students.

Global News File

Parents of children at Carman Elementary School in Carman, Man., are outraged after they say the vice-principal of the school asked to see the underwear waistbands of Grade 4 and 5 boys in order to determine who was involved in an incident.

Parents say the incident happened after a male student flushed his underwear down the toilet. That was when the vice-principal apparently went to the boys in those grades and asked to see their underwear straps in order to identify who was and wasn’t wearing underwear.

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“I was blown away, I was upset and I was very angry,” said parent Richelle Foster.

A letter to parents of students in those grades was sent home by the school, but according to Foster, who has children in kindergarten and Grade 3, the letter was not sent to anyone else. She said it should have been distributed to all parents.

“A simple letter home stating to talk your kids about what goes down and doesn’t go down a toilet could have been the answer,” Foster said. “Not to try to find the culprit of who did what.”

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In the letter written by principal Cecile Affleck, she says the issue has been addressed directly with the students and that the request from the vice-principal was “not intended to be salacious nor exploitive.”

In a statement provided to Global News, Prairie Rose School Division admits the action did not follow “respectful investigative methods.”

“PRSD will continue to investigate this matter and will respect all student and personnel confidentiality both during and following the investigation,” the statement read.

“PRSD will continue to review and revise administrative procedures that will provide school leaders with the necessary guidance and direction for completing sensitive investigations.”

The province’s minister of education, Kelvin Goertzen, calls the information concerning.

“I am asking the school division to investigate the circumstances and report back to me as soon as possible,” Goertzen said in a statement.

Foster hopes the vice-principal will be disciplined.

“What message did she send to the children that were embarrassed and exposed the way they were?” Foster said. “This type of abuse needs to stop.”

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