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Montreal school offers olive branch after teacher’s firing for erotic film career

‘This is petty and small-minded. We’re in the year 2014, not 1950,’ says drama teacher Jacqueline Laurent-Auger about her dismissal from Montreal’s Brebeuf College for nude appearances in erotic Parisian films in the 1960s and ’70s.

Bernard Brault/La Presse

An elite private school that sacked a 73-year-old drama teacher because she'd appeared in nude films over 40 years ago is reconsidering its decision and says it is ready to welcome the instructor back, though not necessarily in her old job.

Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf caused a furor by ending the contract of teacher Jacqueline Laurent-Auger after male high-school students, looking online, discovered some of the risqué films she had appeared in. The films, which include titles like Le journal intime d'une nymphomane (Diary of a Nymphomaniac), date to the 1960s and 1970s, when Ms. Laurent-Auger was a young actress looking for work in Paris.

In a statement, the elite private school said it has had second thoughts and recognized the issue "could have been treated differently."

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The statement said a representative of the school reached out to Ms. Laurent-Auger this week to discuss her return "in new functions" at the school, suggesting she might not get her former job back.

She had been on contract for 15 years.

Reached at her home on Wednesday, Ms. Laurent-Auger said she hadn't decided whether she would take the school up on its offer.

"I'm in a period of reflection," she said.

Ms. Laurent-Auger's story gained her widespread sympathy in Quebec, while the school was attacked as prudish and shortsighted. The school, founded by Jesuits, groomed figures such as Pierre Trudeau and his son, Justin.

The school had initially defended its move, saying the discovery of the films had set a bad example for students and undermined the atmosphere in class.

When interviewed by The Globe, Ms. Laurent-Auger said the films in which she performed were not pornographic, but part of an artistic trend of openness in the film world in the 1960s and 1970s. "I would never do pornography," she said. "We called them light, erotic films, and they have nothing to do with the kinds of things you see today."

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In its statement Brébeuf said it would also begin examining the role of sexuality and social media in education.

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About the Author

Ingrid Peritz has been a Montreal-based correspondent for The Globe and Mail since 1998. Her reporting on the plight of Canadians suffering from the damaging effects of the drug thalidomide helped victims obtain federal compensation and earned The Globe and Mail a National Newspaper Award, Canadian Journalism Foundation award, and the Michener Award for public service. More

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