Parents believe controversial transgender Oakville teacher will return to classroom
An organized group of parents believe a controversial transgender Oakville teacher will soon return to the classroom.
That is why the group, called Students First Ontario (SFO), is demanding that the teacher, Kayla Lemieux, have her license suspended for two years and adhere to certain guidelines before returning.
Lemieux, who had been a shop teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School, is believed to still be employed by the Halton District School Board (HDSB) but is currently not assigned to any classroom duties.
Lemieux has not responded to interview requests.
For several months the teacher was at the centre of controversy at the school during her transition. During that time, she was shown to have unusually large breasts and wore a blonde wig and tight clothing. Lemieux has insisted her breasts are real although most media reports suggest they are prosthetic.
Outraged caused by her appearance prompted several protests at the school and even bomb threats. Groups such as the SFO then appeared, demanding that the school board remove her from the classroom.
In a statement released by SFO, it claims over 91 per cent of survey respondents are concerned that Lemieux may soon return to the classroom. Less than 70 people took part in the survey.
The group also says most parents are dissatisfied with how the HDSB handled the situation and are concerned about future reoccurrences. They also believe the board is moving too slowly in implementing a dress code policy that would restrict the type of clothing that Lemieux was wearing at school. As a result, the SFO wants the board to undergo a leadership review of its senior staff over the way the situation was handled.
The HDSB doesn’t respond directly to singular personnel matters and has dealt with the situation as a board-wide operational issue since the controversy began last September when Lemieux returned to the classroom for the school year.
As such, the board says it has been conducting its own survey that deals with the system’s professionalism policy. The board says 8,600 parents, staff and students provided feedback. The board has not released the results of the survey.
In a statement released to the media, the board said it is setting an example for students that shows that it is inclusive and accepting and believes in upholding human rights for everyone in the school community.
“We recognize there are some select voices in this conversation, but there are other voices too,” the board statement reads in reference to the position taken by SFO. “We have heard from students, parents/guardians and staff who quietly assure us that not everyone feels the same way as some of these voices.”
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce weighed into the issue earlier this year, criticizing the way HDSB has handled the situation, suggesting that parents have not been kept fully informed.
Today, in a general statement, Lecce said he believes that school boards are spending too much time on issues that are not related to education. He said he wants boards to focus on basics such as improving reading, writing and math skills. But with a nod to some of the concerns raised by SFO, Lecce said he wants parents to “get the information they need from school boards” and make sure that “a parent’s voice is heard, not silenced.”insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising