Local supporters protest Josh Alexander's expulsion on
Feb. 27, 2023 at Renfrew County Catholic District School
Student Josh Alexander has been through a lot – including several arrests and a high-school expulsion, while standing up for his beliefs, including that there are only two sexes, male and female.
You can read the whole saga on our website, pafe.ca/justice_for_josh_alexander. The seventeen-year-old student was suspended from the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board for speaking his mind in class on the issue last year during a discussion on gender identity, and followed up with a walkout in protest of biological males using the girls’ bathroom. His school expelled him as a result, and banned him from the premises until the end of the 2022-23 school year.
Josh wasn’t allowed to appeal his expulsion because he didn’t have the appropriate legal standing, at least until a judge decided that as a legally independent minor, he did.
The appeal at the board took place online Thursday, September 7 with the Renfrew County Catholic Board. The results were anything but pretty.
As described by Michael Higgins in an article for the National Post, the board peppered him with loaded questions, leading one to question the board’s genuine intentions.
Josh was asked about pictures on his social media accounts of him posing with firearms, saying “The principal went on to say he must ask whenever he sees a student with a firearm, which is completely false,” he said.
“I gave him several examples of students posing with firearms and it’s not an issue with the board. Many of my classmates will pose when they shoot a deer in hunting season and you take a photo with your firearm. But they took issue with me.”
Also triggering for the board were approving Twitter mentions of the hit country song, “Try That in a Small Town,” by Jason Aldean, with its endorsement of the use of violence to protect people from social evils. The board wanted to know his thoughts on the lyrics, “See how far you make it down the road,” “Try that in a small town,” and “You cross that line, it won’t take long.” It felt “like they were trying to trap me,” said Alexander.
Further toward assessing the danger posed by Alexander should he return to school, board staff asked him what he meant when he talked about “weak men” on social media.
“They asked me to give them an example of a weak man, to which I responded: their former principal. There seemed to be a little awkwardness after I said that,” he said.
When prompted for further examples, he added, “I believe a weak man is anybody who refuses to stand up for teenage girls whose privacy and security is being put in danger and I believe the RCCDSB has a multitude of them.”
Alexander clearly poses a problem for this board in that he refuses to stifle his voice and beliefs.
But Alexander did agree to one condition of the board touching free speech, which was not to use the dead-names of students, meaning the birth names used by students before their gender transition.
Alexander said he never had done so and did not plan on doing so going forward:
“I made it clear that I am not going to intentionally search for conflict with students who have their various opinions of me and identify differently. That’s not my goal, it never was.”
But Alexander won’t go so far as to agree to never have contact with trans kids at his school. That would be unrealistic, he said.
Another sticking point for Alexander was the board’s limitation on his choice of wording to describe the board’s bathroom policy.
“They also want me to refrain from using the words ‘grooming’ or ‘perverted’ when referring to the school’s policy regarding male and female private spaces,” he said. “I immediately declined that request and I told them exactly why. I told them I feel it’s inappropriate and it is perverted for the Catholic board to knowingly allow males to watch female students undress.
“They are now punishing anybody who speaks out against that. I’m not going to silence myself on that. That’s why we got here in the first place and it’s still an issue. Those same students’ privacy and safety is being violated and I will continue to speak for them.”
Toward the end of the meeting, Alexander was asked if he would respect the authority of the new principal. “I agreed and I gave biblical reasons as to why I will honour and respect authority up until it breaks my moral code,” he said.
“They asked me to explain my moral code to them and I explained it is all based on the Bible. Then I held the Bible up to the camera. I said this is the basis of my moral code. I live by the values and the ethos in this book and that’s how I will define my actions in future. And I explained that they were supposedly a Christian and a Catholic school and that shouldn’t be an issue.”
In the end the board told Josh it would review his comments and make a decision later.
Please direct letters of support for Josh to the Director of Education and the trustees of the Board.
Express your outrage that Alexander is being unjustly held back from his education.
Say that it is past time that Josh Alexander should be back in school, as he has expressed beliefs that are in harmony with the beliefs of his school system and are of no threat to anyone.
Mention that students should not be penalized for the peaceful expression of sincerely held beliefs, and that doing so would send a message that the board is fine with censoring free speech that conflicts with prevailing value-systems. Even though those value systems conflict with the moral code of the board itself. Tell the board to buck up and not let itself be reduced to incoherence on the topic of sexuality.
Contact info for the trustees and the Director of Education. Please note that phone messages ring to the board’s voicemail system:
Mark Searson, Director of Education
Bob Shreader, Chair
613-735-1032 ext. 506
613-735-1032 ext. 511
613-735-1032 ext. 510
613-735-1032 ext. 509
613-735-1032 ext. 507
613-735-1032 ext. 508