The province’s education minister says he has asked the Ontario College of Teachers to review professional conduct provisions amid controversy surrounding an Oakville, Ont., teacher’s attire.
“In this province, in our schools, we celebrate our differences and we also believe that there must be the highest standards of professionalism in front of our kids,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Friday when asked about the situation.
“And on that basis, I’ve asked the Ontario College of Teachers to review and to consider strengthening those provisions with respect to professional conduct which we think would be in the interest of all kids in Ontario.”
Images have gone viral online and in the media in recent days, appearing to show a teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School wearing large prosthetic breasts in class.
Protests were held on Friday and over the weekend regarding the situation.
The Ontario College of Teachers website says it “licenses, governs and regulates Ontario’s teaching profession in the public interest.” It is responsible for licencing teachers, setting ethical standards, investigating concerns, among other responsibilities.
All publicly funded teachers in the province must be certified by the college.
Also last week, trustees with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) met and agreed to review the dress code.
The board has said that it is “committed to establishing and maintaining a safe, caring, inclusive, equitable and welcoming learning and working environment for all students and staff.”
“We strive to promote and support a positive learning environment in schools consistent with our values and to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students, staff and the community, regardless of their race, age, ability, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, socio-economic circumstances, or body type/size,” the HDSB said.
“The HDSB recognizes the rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to equitable treatment without discrimination based upon gender identity and gender expression.”
It said gender identity and expression are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
The board said it wouldn’t provide further information as it’s “a personnel matter.”