‘Substantial responsibility’ in implementing dress code, says review triggered by Oakville teacher’s dress code

An Oakville high school teacher who made headlines around the world for wearing large prosthetic breasts in class is not likely to be subject to a dress code while on the job, according to a board review school.

Images of the Oakville Trafalgar High staff member went viral on social media in September, prompting a dress code review by the Halton District School Board (HDSB), which revealed the results to board members at a meeting Wednesday evening.

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The report recommends against adopting a system-wide dress code for staff members, suggesting this could potentially trigger human rights abuses.

“It is clear from the above analysis that the implementation of a formal staff dress code or grooming standards would likely expose the council to considerable liability,” said the joint statement by Superintendent Sari Taha and the director of education Curtis Ennis.

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The recommendation follows calls from some students, parents and members of the Trafalgar community who were uncomfortable with the teacher’s clothing choices.

The HDSB had considered a dress code when it was revealed at the start of the school year, but decided against it, saying in the report that it is important to recognize the impact of dress code policies on members of the transgender community.

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School board aware of possible protests over Oakville teachers’ dress code as dress code undergoes review

“In particular, it is important that employers make arrangements to ensure that these employees are able to express themselves in accordance with their lived gender,” the HDSB report states.

School board leaders also said that since their collective agreement with the teachers expired in August and nothing new has been signed, her hands are tied as she is unable to adjust the terms of work during these negotiations.

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“As a result, the HDSB is unable to impose a dress code on staff during negotiations, but is not limited to considering dress codes in general,” the executives said.

The case is still under review by the Ontario College of Teachers, which the agency launched in mid-October.

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