It’s finally happened. A student has been arrested for challenging gender ideology at --wait for it-- a Catholic high school in Ontario. The student’s name is Josh Alexander and he is a sixteen-year-old student at St Joseph High School in Renfrew in the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board. You may already have read or heard about him in the media.
Part 1: What has happened so far
Challenging Gender ideology
Josh’s crimes? This drama begins in the fall of 2022 when Josh, in one of his classes at St. Joseph's High School, expressed his support for the scientific fact that there are two, and only two, sexes (he used the word “genders” but in the obvious context of “sex”) and challenged the assumption of gender ideology that girls can be boys“boys can be girls” and
As Josh told the National Post, the discussion was about “male students using female washrooms, gender dysphoria and male breastfeeding. Everyone was sharing their opinions on it, any student who wanted to was participating, including the teacher. I said there were only two genders, and you were born either a male or a female, and that got me into trouble. And then I said that gender doesn’t trump biology.”
This offended some trans students in his class, who hold that biology is irrelevant to your “gender” and can be changed according to your subjective view of what your gender is.
Defending girls’ safety in public washrooms
Then some girls at the school came to Josh in the fall of 2022 and complained that biological males (who identify as females) were being allowed to use the girls’ washroom, a practice tolerated by both the principal of the high school, Derek Lennox, and the local Catholic school board. This situation was making some girls so uncomfortable that they
were avoiding using the bathroom altogether. Eventually they turned to the school’s most outspoken student against the gender ideology madness for help. That student was Josh, and they asked him for help. In November of 2022 he staged a walkout at his school in support of the girls.
In response to the girls’ request for help, Josh organized a “walk out” to protest the invasion of the girls’ washrooms by biological males. This, of course, embarrassed Principal Lennox and the local Catholic school board. None of the local school authorities wanted attention drawn to what was going on.
The end result of the protest – and Josh’s outspoken opposition to gender ideology - was that Josh was suspended by the principal, Derek Lennox, on Dec. 20, 2022.
When people initially contacted the board inquiring why Josh was being held out of school, they received a letter like this from Chair Bob Shraeder. In this email the chair of the board told a Renfrew Catholic stakeholder that the board's "practice"--note, not a policy-- is to allow use of opposite-sex washrooms by transgender students and that this is to ensure that the board's practice follows the Human Rights Code.
On Jan. 8, 2023 Josh received a Notice of Exclusion from the board that he was excluded (rather than expelled) from school. According to section 265 of the Education Act, a student can be excluded from school if the principal deems him or her “a person whose presence in the school or classroom would in the principal’s judgment be detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of the pupils.” According to an email from the principal to Josh’s lawyer, James Kitchen, the same day, Josh was told his presence at school would be “detrimental to the physical or mental well-being” of transgender students.
When Josh tried returning to school on Jan. 9, he received a trespass notice from the principal. Josh’s lawyer entered into negotiations with the school board’s legal counsel to get the “notice of exclusion” removed so Josh could return to school. Josh was told he could return if he agreed to two conditions, that he would refrain from "dead naming" trans students and would not attend two classes the trans students were in. Rebel News reports that Josh's lawyer, James Kitchen from Liberty Coalition Canada, at the time, called the dead naming condition "compelled speech"; and the banning of Josh from his afternoon classes "manifestations of religious discrimination.”
Negotiations regarding the exclusion between lawyers for the two sides hit a wall when Josh refused to promise that he would not speak about his views about sexuality. On Jan 27 this exclusion was extended to the end of the new term.
Josh is arrested Feb. 6, 2023. Photo by: Chris Dacey
Josh tried to go back to school once again on Feb. 6, 2023 but someone called the police, who arrived and arrested and charged Josh with trespassing.
Josh was “banned” from his high school via a “notice of exclusion” because of politics.
His treatment has exposed the fact that school staff are now guided by gender ideology in their day to day decisions.
Josh is guilty of truth telling the biological facts of life of male and female, thus challenging gender ideology (ironically, Josh’s views are those of not only established scientific fact but also are in accord with the teaching of the Catholic church, and Josh is not even a Catholic).
His use of students deadnames follows from his perception that the claims of gender ideology that you can change your sex are false. He refused to be bullied into accepting a restriction on his speech, demanded by the principal, that he promise to never “dead name” the trans students who insist on being called by their “new name” and not by their “original name” that traditionally corresponds with their biological sex.
Josh embarrassed the principal and school board through organizing the November protest, a protest which revealed the reality of the takeover by gender ideology, that is, that the Principal was permitting biological males to use the girls’ washroom.
The board trustees eventually stopped responding to questions about the case from the public, citing privacy reasons. It is clear that the board’s lawyers are consulting with trustees but none of it has been made public in any motion of the board.
Though it appears from the above that Principal Lennox is the principal actor and “villain” of this story, you will notice an eerie silence from those ultimately responsible for what goes on in the schools of the Renfrew Catholic board: the top bureaucrat, Director of Education, Mark Searson. the elected school trustees for this school board, and in particular the Chair of the Board, Trustee Bob Shraeder of Pembroke. But is the principal just the fall guy? More on this to come.