02/18/2015 11:15 EST | Updated 04/20/2015 05:59 EDT

Yves Bolduc to re-examine strip search policy

Quebec is re-examining its policy on allowing high school staff to strip search students after remarks saying it's permissible set off a firestorm of criticism, says the education minister's press secretary.

- Quebec minister says teen strip search allowed in Quebec schools 

Education Minister Yves Bolduc said Tuesday the practice was permitted as long as it's done "very respectfully."

On Wednesday morning at the legislature in Quebec City, the minister brushed past reporters asking about the issue of strip searching students.

But his press secretary, Yasmine Abdelfadel, told reporters the province will look at "tightening the rules" around the practice.

Last week, a 15-year-old girl was strip searched by her female high school principal and another female staff member at Neufchatel high school in Quebec City.

The school board defended the practice, saying it followed strict guidelines drafted by the province with the help of police in 2010.

Public reaction to the developments has been swift.

An online petition calling for Bolduc's resignation has already gained nearly 2,000 signatures.

Educators and opposition politicians in the province were also critical. 

Suanne Stein Day, chair of Montreal's Lester B. Pearson School Board, said she would recommend calling the police to handle any situation where a strip search may be necessary.

"This is a very sensitive and technical procedure though and really is better left to those who are experts at it, so if we had a concern about a student with drugs or anything like that, we would call in the police," she told CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.

"The police are very aware of proper procedures and the appropriate thing to do."