An Ontario high school student is not allowed to attend his Catholic school for the remainder of the year because he expressed the belief that God created only two sexes, with the school arguing that his presence would be “detrimental to the physical and mental well-being” of transgender students.
Josh Alexander, 16, has not been permitted to attend St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario since last November when he organized a protest in support of the right of female students to have single-sex washrooms after two girls had confided in him that they were uncomfortable sharing spaces with trans-identified male students.
Alexander had also expressed his belief that there are only two immutable sexes during a law class discussion, saying that he felt that males belong in male washrooms and females belong in female washrooms because identity doesn’t change biology. This, he told The Post Millennial, was considered "offensive" and "bullying" because there was a transgender student in the class.
First, the Grade 11 student was suspended, but then following the end of his suspension, the principal made the decision to “exclude” him for the remainder of the year. The two amount to the same thing, but an exclusion is not technically disciplinary.
“They're using it as a technicality to say that they're not disciplining me and it's just a form of exclusion to protect the other students,” Alexander explained. However, while he remains excluded, he cannot enroll in any other education programs.
“I am unable to do any other form of education because as long as I'm enrolled in the Catholic board, I'm not allowed to take an alternative route of education,” he said “So I'm enrolled, but I'm not allowed to attend school. So right now I actually have no form of education.”
Alexander told The Post Millennial he would like the opportunity to dispel some of the rumours being spread about him.
“There have been a lot of rumours about me, from some of the local Pride groups that ended up protesting at my school,” Alexander said. “Some of them say I had plans to be violent, or that it was an anti-trans rally, when none of that was really the case. I simply wanted the males removed from the female washrooms, regardless of their identity. This whole issue isn't about identity. It's about biology and morality.”
Alexander now plans to file a human rights complaint on the grounds of religious discrimination.
“Offence is obviously defined by the offended. I expressed my religious beliefs in class and it spiraled out of control,” Alexander told The Epoch Times. “Not everybody’s going to like that. That doesn’t make me a bully. It doesn’t mean I’m harassing anybody. They express their beliefs and I express mine. Mine obviously don’t fit the narrative.”
Alexander’s lawyer, James Kitchen, told The Epoch Times that the school has labeled Alexander’s expression of his beliefs as “bullying.”
“Obviously, he doesn’t actually bully them as that term would be defined by … reasonable people. He’s not going to seek them out and call them names and make fun of them,” Kitchen said. “But he does express his views about what these people say and about what they believe and about what they’re doing. And he expresses them online, and he expresses them in the class.”
Derek Lennox, the principal, and Mark Searson, the director of education for the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board both said they were unable to comment on the situation.
As well as filing a provincial human rights complaint, Alexander is attempting to appeal his original suspension. This would mean a school board panel would have to decide if the suspension was warranted.
However, the appeal is stalled over a disagreement about Alexander’s parental independence. The Grade 11 student has withdrawn from parental control for the purposes of the appeal so as not to drag his parents into what he considers to be his fight, but the school contests this arguing that Alexander still lives with his parents and therefore should not meet the legal designation of being independent.
“He does live with his parents and they have an excellent relationship. He seeks guidance from them and they gladly give it to him. But he runs his own life. And that’s actually by design, because that’s how his parents raised him to be,” said Alexander’s lawyer.
Alexander and Kitchen have requested a public hearing with the school board to be broadcast via video conference.
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