A teacher who made headlines around the world for wearing what appear to be large prosthetic breasts to school will reportedly be back in class after leaving the Halton District School Board (HDSB).
The difference this time is that transgender shop teacher Kayla Lemieux will be at a different school—Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School in Hamilton, according to a memo to parents obtained by the Toronto Sun.
In the memo, Principal Tom Fisher said the Hamilton-Wentworth District School board has “an obligation to uphold individual rights and treat everyone with respect and dignity.”
The memo added that “should the school be subject to any disruptions or protests; we are committed to communicating with you as openly and as frequently as possible to ensure student safety—and to share any operational plans.”
The memo highlighted preparations for facing potential backlash. Preparations will include “having students enter and exit the building using assigned doors at entry and dismissal,” along with “locking exterior doors during school hours, using only the front main doors during school hours.” Other measures include having students and visitors use an intercom system to enter and exit the building. Parents are being asked to email or call before coming to the school.
According to authorities of the teacher’s previous school, there had been bomb threats against the school, and threats of violence against board staff.
The original story about Lemieux broke last year, when the teacher was at HDSB’s Oakville Trafalgar High School.
Kayla Lemieux, who used to be known as Kerry Lemieux, has worn tight shirts over very large breasts assumed to be prosthetic.
The decision to allow the teacher to continue working at the school with the controversial appearance in the presence of children sparked protests from concerned parents.
The school board was criticized by Ontario’s Education Minister Stephen Lecce as well, who said on Feb. 21, “It’s unacceptable and an abdication of responsibility of the school board for not defending and upholding the interests of children.”
Three Progressive Conservative MPPs also issued a statement on Feb. 28, saying, “The HDSB has abdicated its responsibility by failing to put the interests and safety of children first.”
In March of this year, the HDSB confirmed that the teacher was no longer in the classroom but remained on the payroll.
Lemieux broke a long media silence in an exclusive interview with the New York Post in February and said the large breasts are real.
However, the Post published photos of a man it said was Lemieux without the oversized breasts. The Post said it had photographers staked outside Lemieux’s residence and observed the teacher emerging both in costume and out of costume.
The case also raised questions over what constitutes professional dress for teachers.
In interviews with media, including the Toronto Sun, Lemieux has claimed not to want any special attention from media.
The memo from Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School did not name the teacher. Instead, it said the teacher “is an experienced educator” who was “recently the subject of public attention, pertaining to their gender expression, while teaching at a school in a different community.”
It’s unclear what subjects Lemieux will be teaching at the new school.
Students go back to class on Sept. 5.
Tara MacIsaac contributed to this report.