Police get involved in student protest of dress code

French Catholic high school students protested invasive dress-code inspections, then police got involved.

Robert Hiltz
16 May

Good morning!

It was a beautiful weekend to head to the park. Yes, it was rightfully warm, but down by the Rideau River, it was a great time to spend in the shade with a river-soaked dog. Lady Bird, as much as she loves bounding through the snow, is very happy that the warm weather has returned so she can splash around the water and bound through the woods.

Anyway, I hope none of you melted. While it could be pleasant, it could also be pretty brutal.

Off to the news.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Monday: 23 🌡️ 10 | ⛈

Tuesday: 15 🌡️ 6 | 🌧

Wednesday: 19 🌡️ 5 | ☀️

Police Hassle High School Students Protesting Invasive Dress-Code Inspections

Student protest forces apology: The French Catholic school board was forced to apologize to Orléans École secondaire catholique Béatrice-Desloges students for a humiliating dress-code blitz at the school. 

Hundreds of students took to the street in front of the high school after inspections by mostly male teachers of the length of girls’ shorts and skirts.

  • “The administration of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est is sincerely sorry for this outcome and wishes to apologize to the students and families who have been disturbed by these events,” the board’s director of education Marc Bertrand wrote in a letter of apology, CBC reported.

Students said they were forced to bend over while the length of their clothing was measured to see if it was complying with board rules. The board said in its investigation it hasn’t found evidence of students being forced to bend over.

One 18-year-old student told CTV she found the test “dehumanizing.” According to the student: “[A teacher] 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.” 

Police arrest student: Some kids from another school wanted to cross the street to join the students’ protest in solidarity, and instead police arrested one of them. The student wasn’t charged, but a video posted by CTV’s Mackenzie Gray shows him roughed up by two cops. 

  • As Gray put it, referring to the policing strategy during the convoy: “Maybe if the kids had tried to cross the street with a large wagon filled with diesel and propane, the police would have let them cross the road!” 

Interim police chief Steve Bell said the police “responded appropriately with the intention of maintaining public safety,” according to CTV.

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • 20: The number of speeding tickets handed out by Ottawa Police over the weekend, during an annual blitz. [CTV]
  • Three: Acres of brush burnt in a Cumberland-area fire. [CTV]

The Heat Is Off

Spring heatwave ends: After four days of sweltering, record-breaking heat, the temperature dropped to reasonable levels. The city broke century-old heat records last week on Wednesday (31.2 C) and Thursday (30 C) and all-time records Friday (30.3 C) and Saturday (31.2 C), according to weather historian Rolf Campbell.

  • It’s hoped Saturday’s rain will help the dry conditions that led to the ongoing city fire ban.

The look ahead: “This is something you'd expect in the dog days of summer. … It's just a head-shaker in terms of temperature,” Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CBC. But despite the early temperature spike, Phillips said the summer isn’t expected to be hotter than usual. 

Jobs Around Town

  1. Financial Services Unit Coordinator at the City of Ottawa
  2. Industrial Relations Analyst at Employment and Social Development Canada
  3. Family Liaison Officer at Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services
  4. Currency Policy Analyst at the Bank of Canada
  5. Senior Product Manager, Mobile App at Angi

Pedestrian Bridge Detour Caused By Unexpected Utilities

Bridge demolition: The closure of the pedestrian bridge across the Transitway south of Carling was caused by an unexpected conflict between the new bridge and underground utilities, the city told the Ottawa Lookout. The original bridge was expected to be in place before the old bridge was demolished for Stage 2 construction of the LRT.

Instead, the old bridge will be demolished before a new one is in place. The bridge will close next week, before a June demolition.

  • “At this time, the city anticipates that the design work will be ongoing for the next month, with construction to resume shortly thereafter. Although a specific date cannot be provided, efforts are being made to open the bridge later this year,” Michael Morgan, director of the city’s rail construction program, said in a statement.

Delay worries: The city feared waiting for a new design would delay overall construction of the western extension of the LRT. The city estimates the detour, which is about 850 metres long, adds only three to four minutes to the walk.

In addition to the concrete barrier across the middle of the Transitway, the construction zone is fenced off and “no unauthorized access” signs will be added to deter people from trying to take a potentially dangerous shortcut.

Provincial Election Update

Parties need to regain health workers' trust: It will take more than lavish promises to regain the trust PSWs and the families of long-term care residents. After two years of a brutal pandemic, the people closest to LTCs need to see actual action. Support workers say both Liberals and PCs are responsible for years of cuts to the system. Almost one-third of all COVID deaths have happened in long-term care, and there are 150 LTCs with active outbreaks. [CBC]

Doug Ford hiding on purpose: PC Leader Doug Ford’s strategy of staying out of the spotlight is a conscious strategy, meant to limit the risk to his re-election hopes. There are too many opportunities for Ford to say the wrong thing if he’s actually answering media questions, says a CBC story. [CBC]

Housing third-parties campaigning hard: Several third-party groups are pushing housing messages hard. Groups representing developers, real estate agents, and affordable-housing advocates are all looking to put their housing goals at the top of your mind. [Ottawa Citizen]

  • Dig deeper: Housing Costs Key Issue For Ontario Voters [CTV]

Four-day workweek? Both the NDP and the Liberals are proposing a pilot project that would test out the viability of four-day work weeks. The NDP plan involves appointing a commission to find a viable way to implement it. The Liberals plan to consult with industry and labour groups to find a way forward. [CBC]

NDP to double disability payments: The NDP said if they are elected to government, they would double the Ontario Disability Support Program payments in their second year. In the first year, they would raise rates 20 percent, the party promised. [CBC]

NDP to cancel gas-tax cut: The NDP would not go through with a planned six-month gas tax holiday set for July 1. The party says it is looking for a long-term solution to help Ontarians with high fuel costs, rather than a quick fix. The party also plans to run deficits for six years if they are elected to government. [CBC]

Speaking Of The Provincial Election…

With election day quickly approaching, our team is preparing an Ottawa Provincial Election Guide, to help you understand where each party stands on local issues. 

But to do this, we want to hear from you. We’ll use your responses to ask each provincial party where they stand on those issues.

It takes less than two minutes to complete — take the survey now before it closes on Friday. 

Stories You Might Have Missed

Royal couple tour begins this week: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla come to Canada this week. They arrive in St. John’s tomorrow, and come to Ottawa on Wednesday. They finish their tour in Yellowknife on Thursday before leaving the country. Their tour will focus on environmental issues and reconciliation. [The Canadian Press]

New record for gas prices: Prices across the city passed $2 per litre. On Sunday, prices were above 208.9 cents per litre in parts of the city. There’s little relief in sight, as prices could rise above $2.10 per litre for the Victoria Day long weekend. [CTV]

OC Transpo loses human rights case: The Federal Court ruled OC Transpo failed to take into account an employee's disability when the transit agency fired him over absenteeism. When OC Transpo fired the employee, it lumped all his absences together, and argued he was away too often. More than 70 percent of those absences were due to the worker’s medical condition, and should have been considered separately. A remedy to the worker has not yet been decided. [Ottawa Citizen] 

Mask mandate ends in Gatineau: The mask mandate is over in Quebec, the last province to do so. Now, when in Gatineau the rules will be similar to in Ontario. Masks are still required on public transit and in taxis, as well as in health-care settings. [CBC]

Community Highlights

  • Looking to get a glimpse of Ottawa’s great horned owls? Follow these tips from a photographer to not be a bird paparazzi. [CBC] 
  • The Redblacks training camp came to a halt as talks broke down between the league and the union. [CTV]
  • Ottawa’s hot dog king is in hospital after surviving a daw heart attack setting up his downtown cart. Get well soon, Terry! [Ottawa Citizen]
  • Reddit user bubator has drawn a remarkable map of the city with a pen with one continuous line.
  • Honeymoon Suite hit the Bronson Centre last week, and Apt613 has a great gallery of photos from the gig.
  • Missing cat in Sandy Hill, keep an eye out for this cat if you're in the area.

Today's Top Photo

Some ducks near Kanata
Catherine Marcil/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes courtesy Catherine Marcil, who sends in this shot of three male mallards, near Hazeldean and Terry Fox Drive. 

Have you got photos of Ottawa? We love publishing reader shots of our city! Send them our way.

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 943 (+82)
  • Deaths: 793 (+0)
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 21
  • Ottawans In ICU: 1
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 98% 
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 73% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 28% 

More COVID Headlines:

Miss Friday’s Ottawa Wordle? Here’s your chance to guess this week’s word. Play it now.

Previous Lookout Editions

  • The city is demolishing a pedestrian bridge, with no timeline for a replacement - read more
  • Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod got $44k in allowances over three years - read more
  • Gas prices hit record levels - read more
  • Is the housing market cooling off? Just maybe - read more
  • The city should slow down before approving Lansdowne 2.0 - read more
  • The motorcycle protest comes to town - read more

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