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Josh Alexander v Renfrew County Catholic District School Board

Updated January 30, 2023

Case Description

Liberty Coalition Canada is assisting Josh Alexander, a grade 11 student at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Ontario. Josh was suspended for 20 days in late 2022 because he expressed his Christian beliefs, during class debates and on social media, that there are only two genders, that students cannot switch between genders, and that male students should not be permitted into the girls’ bathroom. The timing of this suspension also suggests retaliation for Josh organizing a student walk-out regarding the refusal of St. Joseph’s Principal, Derek Lennox, to address the concerns of a female student regarding male students accessing the girls’ washrooms.

Josh was told by the Principal he could only return to school if he agreed to not use the “dead name” of any transgender student and agreed to exclude himself from his two afternoon classes because those classes are attended by two transgender students who disapprove of Josh’s religious beliefs.

On January 6, 2023, LCC Chief Litigator James S.M. Kitchen, who is representing Josh, wrote to the Principal explaining how compelling Josh to utter falsehoods regarding gender contrary to his beliefs and segregating him from classes are repugnant manifestations of religious discrimination. The Principal responded by excluding Josh from attending St. Joseph’s altogether, claiming that “his presence in the school or classroom would be detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of the pupils”.

As the Principal’s discriminatory actions toward Josh were unlawful, Josh attended school on January 9. In response, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, of which St. Joseph’s is a part, issued a Trespass Notice against Josh, effective until the end of the first semester, and a second suspension.

The School Board hired lawyers, who wrote to Mr. Kitchen on January 9 objecting to the publication of the details of how Josh was being treated by the School Board. Mr. Kitchen responded, noting that the “issuing of a further suspension and a trespass notice [is] an unnecessary escalation and extreme response to him simply attending classes”.

The School Board then took the position that Josh could not appeal his suspensions based on a technicality. Josh’s desire is to appeal his suspensions on his own and through Mr. Kitchen as his lawyer. Despite demonstrating to the School Board he has standing to appeal the Board’s disciplinary decisions against him, the School Board continues to refuse to hear his appeals.

Josh had hoped to return to school at the start of the second semester on February 6, 2023. However, upon informing the School Board he would continue to adhere to his religious beliefs regarding Biblical sexuality and gender, the School Board responded by excluding Josh from attending St. Joseph’s for the rest of the school year.

Under the guise of “safety”, as that term has been revised by woke gender activists now pervasive in public institutions, Josh has been penalized for expressing his Christian beliefs regarding gender and modesty, beliefs which also happen to align with both objective truth and actual safety. Josh not only has a right to express himself during class discussions and through public forums, he also has a right not to be discriminated against by his school for his sincere religious beliefs. Being suspended and excluded from attending classes is the height of discrimination.

Josh will continue to courageously stand for his beliefs, for truth, and for girls whose voices of concern over their actual safety are being drowned out by the outraged nonsense of the woke mob, even if that means sacrificing his ability to attend St. Joseph’s.

Please donate to the Liberty Defense Fund, through which LCC provides free legal representation to Josh.

"Sometimes your freedom is not taken away at gunpoint but instead, one piece of paper at a time, one seemingly meaningless rule at a time, one small silencing at a time. Never allow the government or anyone else–to tell you what you can or cannot believe or what you can and cannot say or what your conscience tells you to do or not do."

- Armando Valladares

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