A Canadian high school has suggested it would be illegal to criticize and stop a trans teacher from wearing giant prosthetic breasts in class.
Kayla Lemieux, a manufacturing engineering teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School in Ontario, was recently pictured teaching a workshop class wearing large prosthetic limbs that stretch and significantly accentuate her clothing.
Despite strong backlash and reports that some students are skipping classes, the Halton District School Board has defended the teacher, saying she will no longer answer questions on the subject because it is a “staff matter”.
The district also claimed that the teacher’s intervention or criticism would violate Ontario’s human rights code.
“The HDSB recognizes the rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to equal treatment without discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. Gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds under Ontario’s Human Rights Code,” the board said in a statement.
Meanwhile, parents and high school students seemed divided on the issue.
Owen LaPlante, a 12th grader at the school, told the Toronto Sun that while some people support Lemieux, others are uncomfortable with the situation.
“I agree,” he said. “I know some of my friends are a little uncomfortable with that, but I think she should be able to express herself however she wants.”
The Halton District School Board suggested that criticizing Kayla Lemieux (above), the store teacher at Oakville Trafalgar High School, for wearing giant prosthetic breasts would violate Ontario’s human rights code
Lemieux was photographed and recorded by students wearing the large prostheses in class. The images have gone viral, with many criticizing the teacher’s attire
The prosthesis was so large that it stretched her clothing and protruded significantly (right)
Yuxuan Xie, a 10th grade student, told the Sun that most of the children at school seem to have dismissed the incident.
“I really don’t hear anyone talking about it,” he said. “I think maybe we don’t care.”
A woman posing as Lei, a mother of a senior at the school, told the Sun that while she was okay with Lemieux being outed as a trans woman, wearing prosthetic limbs that big was too much.
“I think he’s going a little too far,” Lei said. “I think it’s okay to identify yourself, but I think I only wear that in the classroom…I still have concerns about it.”
After the video was released over the weekend, the district had expected a wave of protesters to demonstrate in front of the high school.
Although police officers were stationed around the school, only one protester, claiming to be a former student, emerged while waving the Canadian flag.
The protester, who did not give his name, told the Sun: “I think it is fundamentally wrong that this person can work in a facility as such with huge breasts. It’s disgusting.’
Parents and other concerned citizens are planning to confront the district at its next board meeting on Friday, September 23, demanding that something be done about Lemieux’s clothing.
A lone protester waving a Canadian flag (above) appeared outside the school on Monday
Police were stationed at Oakville Trafalgar High School, about 10 miles outside of Toronto
HDSB chair Margo Shuttleworth (above) defended Lemieux as an “extremely effective teacher”.
Lemieux, who began the transition from male to female a year ago, has gone viral online after students posted photos and videos of the teacher.
In its original statement to parents defending the teacher, the school said: “As a school within the Halton District School Board (HDSB), Oakville Trafalgar High School recognizes the right of students, staff, parents/guardians and community members to be treated fairly of discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.
“We strive to foster a positive learning environment in schools that conforms to the values of the HDSB and to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all students, staff and the community, regardless of race, age, ability, gender, gender identity and gender expression , sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural customs, socioeconomic circumstances, or body type/size.”
HDSB Chair Margo Shuttleworth told the Sun that staff are considering “creating a safety plan” to ensure the safety of the Oakville Trafalgar High School teacher while preparing for possible protests when the school closes for classes on Monday is opened.
“This teacher (who teaches the store) is an extremely effective teacher,” Shuttleworth said. “All the kids really love being in class.”
Despite the praise for the teacher, Shuttleworth also admitted that she had received several calls from parents complaining about the situation.
Lemieux, who began the transition from male to female a year ago, has gone viral online after students posted photos and videos of the teacher
The school board said in a statement that “gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.”