Principal who allowed fake camera in boys' bathroom reinstated by school board
TORONTO -- An Ontario principal who allowed a fake camera facing the urinals in the boys' bathroom to be installed will be reinstated despite the school board saying it was a significant error in judgement.
York Regional Police were called to St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Elementary School in Newmarket, Ont. on Jan. 27 after they were contacted by a concerned parent about a camera that students had noticed in the bathroom.
In a statement to CTV News Toronto in January, the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) admitted the school installed the camera because they had been experiencing issues with the condition of the washroom.
The school’s principal, Karla Bebie, was placed on administrative leave and an internal investigation was launched into the matter. On Friday, parents of children at the school received a letter from the board’s director of education saying Bebie would return next week.
"We confirmed that the cameras were not real and have removed them from the school," YCDSB's director of education Ab Falconi said in a letter e-mailed to parents.
"We also determined that principal Bebie believed she was acting in the best interest of the school when the decision was made to install fake cameras as a deterrent to unhygienic and unsafe use of the washrooms by students.”
"There was no intention to cause harm or distress to students and/or the school community."
"This conclusion, coupled with the Board’s conviction that this significant error in judgement does not eclipse a positive record of 28 years of service, has resulted in the decision to reinstate principal Bebie."
Bebie will return to work on Feb. 18. The board said an action plan has been developed to address any unsafe or unsanitary conditions in the boys’ washroom.
A parent, who didn’t want to be named, told CTV News Toronto in January she first found out about the fake camera when her son complained about it at home.
She said she didn't believe her son when he told her there was a camera in the bathroom so she sent him to school with an iPhone to take a photo.
"When I saw the picture I was like 'Oh my god' I panicked and immediately contacted the principal," the parent said.
The parent still proceeded to contact police after the principal told her the camera was fake.