Catholic School Senior Arrested for Affirming Biological Gender Files Religious Discrimination Complaint

High school senior Josh Alexander, 17, won’t graduate this year. The Ontario student was suspended after protesting transgender bathrooms in St. Joseph’s Catholic High School and hasn’t attended class since February—not since police escorted him out of the building for trespassing.

The teen was on Tucker Carlson a few weeks back and has made the rounds to rally public support, accusing Renfrew County Catholic District School Board, principal Derek Lennox, and two teachers of religious discrimination.

Alexander has teamed up with Liberty Coalition Canada (LCC) and recently launched a Human Rights Tribunal complaint citing said charge, though that could take time to get off the ground.

They’ve also been awaiting a court decision that could reverse his suspension, but that was just shelved until June.

Despite delays—he won’t receive his diploma this year—Alexander remains stoic. “It’s obviously a bit of a blow,” he told The Epoch Times. “But at the same time, I think we’ve been fairly successful in getting the message out there and inspiring other youth to stand up for what they believe in.”

Epoch Times Photo
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew County, Ontario. (Screenshot/Google Maps); (Inset) Josh Alexander (Courtesy of Josh Alexander).

It was Alexander’s own standing up that drew the ire of St. Joseph’s principal, Lennox, when the teen organized the student walkout on Nov. 25, in protest of the school’s bathroom policy. That discord was punctuated by previous class discussions, in which he argued there were only two genders.

“The topic came up in class one time, and I stated my opinion on it. And I quoted some scripture to back it,” he said. “Students have the right to identify as they wish, but that doesn’t change their biology or the reality that they are, in fact, still the gender that they were born in. That was considered quite controversial and became a heated topic.”

Accused of “bullying” classmates, he insists the discussion was “fairly respectful until one class where there was shouting.” He claims he was called a “misogynist,” a “racist,” and a “homophobic transphobe,” and that teachers encouraged, and even joined in, ridiculing and parading him.

Two teachers “were encouraging male breastfeeding and defending it saying it was natural,” he said, adding that he was “often debating directly with the teachers rather than students.”

Epoch Times Photo
A banner rallying support for a school walkout on Nov. 25, which Josh Alexander organized. (Courtesy of Josh Alexander)

The situation escalated when the matter of bathrooms was brought before Principal Lennox. When he refused to hear Alexander’s concerns, which originated from two female students, the teen organized the walkout; he was suspended two days before the date though it went ahead anyway. Several dozen students participated, while a larger crowd of about 100 counterprotesters and union members were bussed in from Ottawa.

Ultimately, the dispute culminated in Alexander’s arrest. Around Christmas, he was welcomed back by the school though he was barred from attending two classes, math and religion, and from speaking to certain students. The school felt his presence was detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of certain pupils, the teen said.

Consulting his lawyer, they informed the school he would not abide by the terms. Nor would he abide by the subsequent “exclusionary order” and second suspension that came as a result. “I disregarded the order. I felt it was completely discriminatory and unlawful,” he said. “It was at that point at beginning of the semester that I felt, by complying with an exclusion order I’d be condoning it.”

Alexander attended his classes, sure enough. And sure enough, the Ontario Provincial Police arrested him on a charge of trespassing.

Epoch Times Photo
Josh Alexander being arrested at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Renfrew County, Ontario, on Feb. 6, 2023. (Courtesy of Josh Alexander)

The exclusionary order is still in effect.

After teaming up with LCC, following the board’s process, he appealed the suspension. The board refused to hear it, arguing that the teen is under parental control and therefore ineligible. Although his lawyer cites affidavit evidence of Josh’s “withdrawal from parental control,” he says the board simply chose to ignore it.

In a letter last month, LCC announced that they had brought the matter to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (OSCJ) and filed an application to compel the board to hear Alexander’s appeal. OSCJ’s decision was anticipated on April 27. Now the court has been adjourned until June 5. Alexander would not be reinstated at St. Joseph’s. Not yet.

He nevertheless finds solace in his beliefs. He wouldn’t have it any other way. “I think it’s important that no matter the age, people stick to their values, represent them even in the face of controversy,” he said. “I think it’s been worth it. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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