Oakville teacher controversy: Professional standards under review by Ontario College of Teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers says it has launched a review of its professional standards amid controversy surrounding an Oakville, Ont., teacher’s attire.

The college confirmed to Global News on Friday that it has been reviewing its professional standards in response to a request by the province’s education minister.

Images went viral online and in the media last month, appearing to show a teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School wearing large prosthetic breasts in class.

In response, Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he asked the Ontario College of Teachers to review its standards.

Read more: Ontario College of Teachers asked to review professional standards

“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 on Sept. 23 when asked about the situation.

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“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.”

In the days after Lecce made those comments, the college didn’t respond to a request for comment from Global News.

But on Friday, it confirmed a review had been launched in response to Lecce’s request.

Images of the teacher went viral on social media. Twitter

“We will provide our response to the minister when it is ready,” a statement said.

“Please note the college cannot comment on individual teachers, schools, or school boards.”

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, and investigating concerns, among other responsibilities.

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All publicly funded teachers in the province must be certified by the college.

Trustees with the Halton District School Board (HDSB) also previously met and agreed to review the dress code in response to the controversy.

Read more: School board aware of possible protests over Oakville teacher’s attire as dress code under review

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.”

The board said gender identity and expression are protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code and added that it wouldn’t provide further information as it’s “a personnel matter.”

&© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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