EXCLUSIVE: Ontario Catholic school uses 'human rights' to defend suspending student over his opposition to gender ideology

The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board justified its decision on the basis of human rights.

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

The Ontario school board that banned a Grade 11 student from attending his high school for the remainder of the year over his views on gender identity has released a statement defending its decision.

The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB) published an open letter to the Renfrew community justifying its decision to exclude Josh Alexander from St. Joseph’s High School, explaining that the board respects human rights and draws on the guidance from policies issued by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Alexander has not been permitted to attend his high school since last November when he was suspended for organizing a protest calling for female-only bathrooms after two girls had confided in him that they were uncomfortable sharing the spaces with trans-identified male students.

Alexander had also expressed his sincerely held religious belief that God created only two sexes during a law class discussion where he argued that males belong in male bathrooms because identity doesn’t change biology. This was considered to be “offensive” and “bullying” because there was a transgender student in the class.

Following these events, the school made the decision to exclude him from education for the remainder of the school year, arguing that his presence would be “detrimental to the physical and mental well-being” of transgender students.

Mark Searson, director of education, said in the open letter that while all students are "entitled - and encouraged - to share their beliefs - it cannot be at the expense of others. No one should be made to feel unsafe and marginalised. Bullying behaviour that creates an unsafe space for our students is not tolerated.”

Alexander called the suggestion that the board encourages students to share their beliefs “ridiculous.”

“They encourage anything that goes along with the woke ideology that they’re pushing in the education system, but if you dare speak out with anything contrary to it, there will be consequences,” Alexander told The Post Millennial, adding that he did not bully or single out any students when expressing his beliefs. 

In response to requests for clarification about the board’s washroom use policy and practice, Searson points to a section of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) policy statement on washrooms and changing rooms.

“Access to washrooms is a basic physical need at the core of human dignity for everyone. Yet washrooms cause significant barriers for trans people and are one of the public spaces they avoid most,” reads the policy.

It goes on to acknowledge that facilities are typically segregated by sex, for reasons of public decency, but then states that trans people have the right to facilities reserved for members of the opposite sex “based on their lived gender identity.”

“An organization’s washroom facilities and any related policy should not negatively affect trans people. A trans person who identifies and lives as a man should have access to the men’s washrooms and change rooms. A trans person who identifies and lives as a woman should have access to the women’s washrooms and change rooms,” the policy continues.

Then the OHRC makes the remarkable proclamation that a “trans person should not be required to use a separate washroom or change room because others express discomfort or transphobic attitudes, such as ‘trans women are a threat to other women’.”

“Trans women” are male, and it is a fact that males commit almost all violent crime and sex offences. There is no evidence to suggest that males who identify as women commit such offences at a lower rate than the average male, and in fact, recent prison statistics released in England and Canada show that males who identify as women are more likely to be serving sentences for sexual offences than the general male population.

Alexander says he does not believe that the girls who approached him with their concerns about male students using the female washrooms were not motivated by transphobia.

“One female student had said that there was a transgender student, who I won’t name, was shouting at them and calling them transphobic because they looked a little bit startled when a male walked into their washroom,” he explained.

The board’s statement says that the RCCDSB and St. Joseph’s High School have washrooms segregated by sex as well as having gender-neutral single use washrooms available, but states that the OHRC is clear that “individuals have the right to utilise the washroom of their lived gender identity.”

A trans-identified male student who attends St. Joseph’s told CTV at the time of the November protest that the school had offered the use of gender-neutral washrooms but the adolescent male found this unacceptable because sometimes it was necessary to wait.

“Biologically I’m male but I transitioned to female, so I should use the female washroom,” said the student.

“There are gender-neutral washrooms which I have to use, but when they are in use I have to wait, which sucks. People should be able to use which washroom they want to use without fear of being hurt,” the student concluded, with no apparent consideration for the teenage girls who wish to use a facility free from males.

Alexander feels that by refusing to use the gender-neutral washrooms available, certain transgender students are “infringing on the privacy of other students to make a political statement.”

“It’s gross, and it certainly does pose a safety and security risk for female students,” he told The Post Millennial.

“To our brothers and sisters in Christ, as we learn together, we truly hope that within the fullness of time we will come to a deeper understanding of those with different life experiences and find a way to support each other while ensuring that all our community feels safe and loved within our Catholic schools,” reads the open letter that did not once show any understanding of the female students and their desire for the privacy and protection of female-only spaces.

Alexander is planning to file a human rights complaint on the grounds of religious discrimination.


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