Skip to content

Dress code in the works for Halton teachers

Oakville Trafalgar High School | Oakville Trafalgar High School
Oakville Trafalgar High School | Oakville Trafalgar High School

After five months of controversy around the enormous fake breasts that an Oakville Trafalgar High School (OTHS) shop teacher has been wearing to class, Halton school board trustees have ordered a “professionalism policy” to be developed.

The policy, to be delivered by Mar. 1, will outline “the HDSB’s expectations of all staff members, including the requirement to maintain appropriate and professional standards of dress and decorum in the classroom.”

Following a three-hour closed-door special meeting on Jan. 3, trustees unanimously approved the motion directing Director of Education Curtis Ennis to develop the professionalism policy and provide an interim report in February.

Bomb threats, protests and media attention have disrupted the east Oakville high school since September when a gender-transitioning shop teacher began coming to class wearing oversized prosthetic breasts with protruding nipples.

Celina Close, an OTHS parent and spokesperson for the parent group Students First Ontario, says the group is “optimistic that this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Students First Ontario was founded in November by parents frustrated with the school board’s unwillingness to discuss their concerns about the teacher’s attire.

Read more: Put students first urges OT high school parent group

After banding together to hire a local lawyer, they’ve been pressuring the board to address establish a dress code for teachers.

As a minimum, says Close, the group wants to see staff required to abide by the dress code parameters applied to students.

A Halton school board dress code policy says students must not wear clothing that displays vulgarity or exposes or makes visible genitals or nipples.

“I just hope they establish a professional standard that will ensure students have a productive learning environment and that students are safe,” she said.

The issue of the gender-transitioning teacher’s attire will be on the agenda at a Jan. 13 meeting of the OTHS parent council.

According to a letter sent by Oakville lawyer Rishi Bandu to the school board on behalf of Students First Ontario, the meeting will result in “a number of motions and resolutions to advance this matter.”

School board officials blocked a previous attempt by the parent council to discuss the matter.

A GoFundMe initiative to raise $10,000 for legal assistance for Students First Ontario has collected nearly $8,600 in donations.