Ontario's Education Minister Stephen Lecce said on Monday that Halton's school board hasn't upheld expected professionalism standards in dealing with an Oakville, Ont., teacher's unusual wardrobe this semester.
The teacher's donning of huge prosthetic breasts and clothing showing protruding nipples at Oakville Trafalgar High School quickly attracted attention this fall after images taken at the school went viral online. QP Briefing is not identifying the teacher by name, due to threats reported against them and schools they have worked at.
"I do continue to believe that the Halton (District) School Board, which is the employer, has an obligation to ensure that these classrooms are safe and respectful places to work. Teachers need to uphold, as I've noted, the highest professional standards when they're in front of children, and so I do not believe the board of administration has done so to date," Lecce said at an unrelated announcement.
The education minister also said that distractions, which have included multiple violent threats stemming from attention around the teacher, are "unacceptable" and called on the board to bring the situation under control.
"Many families and communities have expressed concern with the management of this issue, and so we reaffirm our expectation with the school boards as employers that they act in the interest of children and they listen to the voices of families of the kids themselves at various schools and parents who want their kids to go to school, focused on learning, and not have to deal with threats of violence, lockdowns or incidents that are very distracting in any school environment," Lecce said.
During the fall, photos and videos of the teacher have attracted international media attention, including from Fox News' Tucker Carlson, who identified the wrong teacher in a television segment.
In September, Lecce asked the Ontario College of Teachers to review its professional standards. The college outlined in its response to Lecce the tools that boards have to ensure professional conduct.
There have also been multiple protests at the Oakville Trafalgar High School.
The Halton District School Board did consider intervening, but didn't, citing protections under the Ontario Human Rights Code, and there have since been multiple bomb threats made against schools in the region, according to CHCH's reporting.
The teacher has been seen working at other schools in the region, and students have been warned against sharing photos of them, the Toronto Sun has reported.
As of a few weeks ago, the teacher's wardrobe remains much the same.