Born Ruffians made a music video featuring a popular dancing crossing guard in Toronto. But sadly all that completely harmless attention seems to have cost the crossing guard her job.
The band posted a string of tweets on their official account late Wednesday afternoon detailing what happened. "Wow," the group began. "Okay -- brace your timelines, I'm about to blow them up. For those who haven't heard, Kathleen, the dancing crossing guard in our "Oh Cecilia" video, was just suspended from crossing. Why? For wearing her uniform in our video. Yep."
The band then linked to a Global News item about Kathleen Byers, a 65-year-old known as the "Dancing Crossing Guard," who worked at an intersection near Dufferin and Dundas in Toronto. Byers was suspended last Thursday during her shift.
"The allegations are you wore your police issued equipment for a purpose other than prescribed in the Toronto Police Service rules and procedures," Byers said according to a statement she received. Police since took the uniform away and said she hadn't complied with rules in the manual, namely dancing while on the job and listening to music.
Byers was suspended without pay and later sent an email to Global News.
"I quit!" Byers wrote. "Doing my job was always a joy, fighting for it was not!"
"Before the video she was getting in hot water for loving her job," the band wrote in its string of tweets. "Now, we do a video together to poke fun at the situation & it gets worse & I don't think this is a 'hey screw those cops' situation, they're just doing their job by serving the crotchety people who complain.
"Although, it is kinda insane that they suspended her from her post, and left it unmanned (whether intentionally or by a scheduling mixup). So, first, the issue was with her dancing on the job, and that she would be a dangerous distraction for drivers. I for one would argue that it's probably good that a crossing guard is seen by drivers, but hey, that's just me.
"Now, the issue is she wore her uniform for something other than crossing," the band continued in its tweets. "We're clearly not familiar with the rules, but I am shocked that this is a suspend-able offence. To me, it really seems as though there's more at play than the police browsing our YouTube channel and going 'HEY SHE CAN'T DO THAT'.
"It's a shame that a handful of uptight complainers can determine Kathleen's fate, especially when she has so much support in her community. Kathleen messaged us saying she quit, because the struggle to keep doing that which she got so much joy from became a fight. That. Sucks. We love Kathleen and feel awful that we had any sort of hand, no matter how absurd, in getting her suspended. She is as wonderful and caring of a person as you could ever meet, who takes a lot of pride and joy in her job. Not really sure what else to say. Dufferin will never be the same."
The story was not lost on other who tweeted their dismay: