Josh Alexander, a 16-year-old student in the 11th grade at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Canada, was suspended this month for expressing his religious and moral objections to the school’s transgender bathroom policy.
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ontario, allows males identifying as transgender girls to use bathrooms designated for females.
Alexander was first suspended for protesting the school’s transgender policy in November, on the grounds he was “bullying.”
When he tried attending class on Feb. 6, he was subsequently suspended again and arrested for trespassing. He has since been released but remains barred from attending classes through the end of the school year.
In an EWTN News Nightly interview, Alexander, who is Baptist, explained that after he began attending Catholic school, “very quickly I was informed by female students that male students were using the female washrooms; this was an issue that came up in class debate and I used that platform to share my opinions as every other student had the opportunity to do, and I quoted some Scripture, I said that there is only two genders. And apparently, because there [are] transgender students in the class, this was considered bullying.”
Alexander also voiced his concerns with the transgender bathroom policy with the school administration but was ignored. Along with other concerned students, Alexander organized a school protest but last November, two days before the scheduled event, he was suddenly suspended.
The protest took place outside the school as planned on Nov. 25. Local groups Arnpour Pride, Renfrew PRIDE, and PFLAG Canada-Renfrew County organized a counterprotest, calling Alexander’s group a “terror organization.” LifeSite News reported that St. Joseph High School informed students participating in Alexander’s protest that they would be banned from accessing school transportation.
St. Joseph’s claims that Alexander’s actions amount to bullying transgender students. Alexander told EWTN that was not his intent.
“My issue wasn’t with the individual students,” Alexander said. “I have an issue with the system that is going to encourage this form of misbehavior.”
“I do sympathize with the confused transgender students,” added Alexander, “because they’ve been wronged by their parents and by society and by the education system that has pushed this indoctrination on them. But at the same time that doesn’t mean I’m going to condone their wrongful behavior, especially when it’s a violation of my female peers’ privacy.”
The Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, which manages St. Joseph High School and 20 other elementary and secondary schools in the region, addressed the issue in an “open letter” to the community.
“Bullying behavior that creates an unsafe space for our students is not tolerated … 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,’” Mark Searson, director of education at Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, said in a Feb. 13 statement.
The Ontario Human Rights Code states that schools should give students access to the bathroom that corresponds with their “lived gender identity.”
Alexander, who is being represented by the law firm Liberty Coalition Canada, plans to file a human rights complaint for violation of his religious freedom.
“There’s a lot of people who hate me, but at the same time, I don’t really care. I did what I believe was right, what was right before God, so at the end of the day I’m happy with that,” Alexander said.