Catholic High School Student Suspended Over Gender Beliefs Loses Appeal

by EditorT

Josh Alexander was first suspended from his school in November 2022. (Handout)

By Chandra Philip

An Ontario teen who was suspended from his Catholic high school for sharing his views that men cannot become women has lost his appeal with the school board.

Josh Alexander was suspended from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, part of the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board (RCCDSB), in November 2022 after he expressed his view that there are only two genders. He also organized a student walkout to protest biological boys being permitted in girls’ bathrooms. His suspension was later changed to an “exclusion” from school, which is similar in nature but considered non-disciplinary.

The appeal hearing regarding the school’s sanctions against him was held on Nov. 15 and 17.

Mr. Alexander’s lawyer, James Kitchen, told The Epoch Times the school board panel had ruled against his client but had not publicized the reason for the decision.

“Nobody knows the reasons why the school board has upheld the exclusions and suspensions,” he said. “They can’t test the panel’s reasons. They can’t review them and think about them, comment on them, and critique them.”

The Epoch Times reached out to the school board for comment but did not hear back by publication time.

Mr. Kitchen said he was not surprised by the decision but was concerned about the amount of secrecy around the appeal process.

“It was held entirely in secret. Nobody was allowed access to it besides me and Josh,” he said. “Josh and I weren’t even allowed to publish our legal arguments.”

Mr. Kitchen said he was also concerned about the lack of objectivity in the panel’s decision.

“They completely ignored all the law I gave them,” he said. “None of the cases I referred to, they just completely ignored all the law that I gave. And then they just sort of adopted all the law that was given to them by the principal and his lawyers.”

He said the panel concluded that Mr. Alexander had bullied transgender students in the school.

“What they sort of base their whole case on was to say, well, this is not about Josh’s religious beliefs and this is not about his expression. This is just about proper conduct and good behaviour and doing things the way it should be done. We’re not trying to censor anybody, you can think whatever you want.”

Mr. Alexander previously told The Epoch Times that he did not engage in bullying with other students.

“Offence is obviously defined by the offended. I expressed my religious beliefs in class and it spiralled out of control,” Mr. Alexander said. “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.”

Arrested for School Attendance

Mr. Alexander was arrested when he attempted to return to finish his Grade 11 studies at the school in February and was charged with trespassing.

The move followed several weeks of Mr. Alexander being banned from his school, including the November 2022 suspension and an exclusion in January.

The school’s decision was in response to classroom discussions about gender that Mr. Alexander engaged in, which some students said made them feel unsafe. He is also accused of not using proper pronouns when referring to other students, and using transgender students’ birth names.

The school board originally refused to hear Mr. Alexander’s appeal, saying he was still under parental control and an appeal must be filed by his parents.

On Aug. 31, Ontario Superior Court Justice Jaye Hooper decided that Mr. Alexander was able to make legal decisions without the input of his parents and, therefore, his appeal should be heard.

Hearing Testimony

At the hearing, Mr. Alexander and a female Grade 12 student gave testimony to support his case.

The Epoch Times has opted not to publish the student’s name. She previously told The Epoch Times she was uncomfortable when she saw a transgender student in the girls’ washroom at the school.

She said she saw the transgender student enter the girls’ washroom for the first time when she was in Grade 11.

“I was just in that bathroom, in my bathroom, and then a transgender male walked in after me,” she said. “That kind of really caught me off guard, because I didn’t even really know at that point that he self-identified as female.”

She said she decided to say something to school officials after she heard some of her other friends commenting on how “weird” it was.

“It’s for my own privacy and safety that I felt like I had to say something at that point.”

She said she told Mr. Alexander about it and also went to the school principal who she said was “very polite about it.”

“He said he appreciated me for coming forward and it’s important for him to hear both sides of the story and all that, but I didn’t really get the sense that he was going to actually do anything about it.”

Mr. Kitchen said that Mr. Alexander was on the stand for several hours at the hearing but there was no cross-examination, even though they had been prepared for it, and no witnesses were brought by the other side.


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