Parents are threatening to boycott a rural Nova Scotia elementary school if a former teacher and convicted sex offender is allowed back in the classroom.
Peter Speight was fired from his job at New Germany Elementary School in 2008 after pleading guilty to three indecent acts. He was given a conditional discharge, which means he has no criminal record.
Now Speight wants his job back. The Department of Education took away his teaching certificate, and he's fighting to be reinstated.
But parents are outraged that a man who drove around looking for pretty women and then masturbated in front of them could be returning to school.
Many parents at a meeting Tuesday night in New Germany vowed to take their children elsewhere, the CBC's Jean Laroche reported.
"I cannot have my child in that class. I cannot risk that with my child," Diane Veinot told CBC earlier in the day.
Jane Morrell heard Speight's apology at a session Monday night in the school's gym.
"He repeated the same times the same statement," she said. "[It] became less and less sincere and honest in my mind."
Veinot's son Cody was taught by Speight. Her younger son Colin would be one of Speight's students if he is reinstated.
"I have a nine-year-old son. I don't want to talk to him about a sexual offender being a teacher," Veinot said, adding she would rather move her son to another school than have that conversation.
Cathy Moore, councillor for District 7, worries that many parents will follow Veinot.
"The parents have spoken. They don't want this teacher in this school. I support them on that," Moore said.
Speight wins rulings
The school board's decision to fire Speight was overturned by an arbitrator, and that decision was upheld by a Supreme Court justice.
Another arbitrator ruled that Speight should regain his teaching certificate, prompting the Department of Education to file for a judicial review.
The restorative justice sessions with the community are required before Speight could be returned to the classroom.
If Speight wins his fight, he would get his teaching certificate back and reclaim his job at the same school, as specified by the arbitrator. He would also receive about $150,000 in back pay for the last 2½ years.