A meeting of the Halton District School Board Wednesday evening should be interesting as a staff report that seeks to deal with the ongoing teacher dress code controversy will be on the agenda. Essentially the staff report recommends a two-week public consultation period to gain public input on the issue, Staff will use that feedback to shape the policy they have been directed to provide. Adding their voices to the discussion were the three government MPPs serving the area. In a statement, Stephen Crawford, MPP Oakville; Natalie Pierre, MPP Burlington; and Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP Oakville North-Burlington called on the Board to “reaffirm the expectation of parents by imposing professional standards and ensuring students are able to learn in a safe and respectful school environment.” The statement referenced the spate of bomb threats that have been levelled towards Oakville Trafalgar High School since the controversy began when a teacher started appearing in class wearing a set of gigantic prosthetic breasts. They wrote, “we echo the statement made last week by Education Minister Stephen Lecce, the HDSB has abdicated its responsibility by failing to put the interests and safety of students first.”
The MPPs’ communique adds to the pressure trustees and staff are already feeling in the wake of community backlash and international media coverage of the controversy which has been largely derisive.
The Halton District School Board tried to clarify its position after media outlets, including this one, reported that stakeholders, including parents and the HDSB vice chair were not happy with a proposed code of conduct paper the board had ordered to be developed by staff that did not discuss a specific dress code for teachers.
The board issued a statement of principles that read, “The Halton District School Board has high standards and high expectations of the educators who work in all our schools. This particular policy will consolidate and affirm existing expectations regarding staff professionalism in school settings – and at school-based activities. We take immense pride in the inclusiveness, compassion, and respect for human rights that our students and their families have demonstrated during this time. We will continue to prioritize students by setting an example of a Board that is inclusive, tolerant, and rooted in the belief of upholding human rights for everyone that is a part of this community
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