The principal of a French Catholic high school in Orleans is leaving the school this week, two weeks after students said a dress code enforcement “blitz” left them feeling degraded and humiliated.
In a letter to parents and guardians of Béatrice-Desloges Catholic High School, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est said Marie-Claude Veilleux will no longer be principal of the school and is now the director of Learning Support Services with the board.
“I would like to sincerely thank Marie-Claude Vellieux for her great dedication during the three years she spent as principal of Béatrice-Desloges Catholic secondary school,” Superintendent of Education Jason Dupuis said in the letter. “Since taking office, the school has improved its service offering, in particular by updating its artistic concentration.”
The letter makes no mention of the dress code enforcement blitz. A letter to parents listed on the Beatrice-Desloges school website from the CECCE Director of Education said school management had been teleworking since May 13 to allow the board to conduct an investigation into the dress code enforcement.
The letter said school management apologized during the virtual announcements to students, and the vice-principals visited classrooms to apologize in person and “explain the dress code review process that will be put in place.”
Sebastien Pharand will begin as principal of Béatrice-Desloges as of May 30. Pharand has worked with the CECCE since 2004, and is currently vice-principal at Garneau Catholic Secondary School.
On May 13, hundreds of students held a protest outside Béatrice-Desloges to protest a dress code “blitz” by staff. Sophie Labbee, 18, told CTV News Ottawa she was one of the students called out of class because of her wardrobe. Labbee said a teacher told her that her shorts were too short.
“She said that they had to be mid-thigh, and made me do this weird test where I bend my knee and she touched my thigh and showed me that that was my mid-thigh and if it was any shorter than that it was inappropriate,” she told CTV News Ottawa.
In a letter to parents to explain the blitz two weeks ago, Veilleux said there had been meetings with students to remind them of the school’s dress code.
“The blitz exercise was done in all our classrooms, in order to ensure compliance with the dress code,” Vellieux said.
Director of Education Marc Bertrand told parents the way the dress code was enforced was unacceptable, and apologized to students and families.
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