After months of public pushback and a scolding from the Minister of Education, Halton District School Board is talking steps to invoke a dress code for teachers. This comes as a transgender teacher identified as Kerry Lemieux has been showing up for class wearing an enormous set of prosthetic breasts. The school board already has a dress code for students but when the issue of the teacher’s wardrobe choices was raised at the board last fall, Sari Taha, the school board’s superintendent of human resources, warned “implementation of a formal staff dress code or grooming standards would likely expose the board to considerable liability” and even if “a dress code is implemented for non-discriminatory reasons, it would likely be found to be discriminatory where it adversely affects an employee or group or employees on the basis of their code-protected grounds.”
The Board has apparently decided not to follow that advice, voting unanimously as follows:
that the Director develop a professionalism policy which outlines the HDSB’s expectations of all staff members, including the requirement to maintain appropriate and professional standards of dress and decorum in the classroom in keeping with the provisions outlined in the body of this report.
The situation has exposed the board to criticism from parents, who formed a lobby group to protest the lack of dress code, as well as derision from international media. Staff have been given until March 1 to come up with a policy.