The board has spoken: Teacher fired after competing on ‘Survivor Québec’ reality show

MONTREAL — An elementary school teacher competing on the Quebec franchise of “Survivor” was recently fired after she took unauthorized time off to participate in the reality television competition.

Déborah De Braekeleer, 39, is one of 16 contestants still in the running to win the $100,000 grand prize in the second season of “Survivor Québec” out of an original cast of 20 people marooned on an island in the Philippines.

Patrick Théroux, president of the local teachers union, says the school board in the town of St-Hyacinthe dismissed her even though she had found qualified replacements to cover her absence. 

Théroux says that days after she was fired, the board offered to rehire her to fill in as her own substitute teacher but wouldn’t reinstate her to a permanent position.

The union president says the situation is especially unfortunate given Quebec’s teacher shortage and struggle to recruit educators.

A petition to reinstate De Braekeleer has amassed more than 4,400 signatures, and Théroux says he hopes the school board will reconsider its decision.

De Braekeleer says she can’t give media interviews while she is still on the Noovo network’s show, in which contestants undergo physical challenges while competing for the favour of their fellow contestants to avoid elimination.

The school board, Centre de services scolaire de Saint-Hyacinthe, has not responded to requests for comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 11, 2024.

The Canadian Press