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UPDATE: Canadian Catholic diocese responds to inquiry about male teen suspended for defending female-only bathrooms

In my article Canada: Catholic male teen suspended for defending female-only bathrooms (full article below), I made a promise:

So far, there is no mention of the Diocese of Pembroke taking up any defense of Josh. I sent a letter to the diocese, and I await a response. I will update this post whether or not I receive a reply.

I did ultimately receive a reply. Here is the dialogue between the Pembroke Diocese and me:

Date: January 16, 2023 at 12:16:13 PM EST
To: reception@pembrokediocese.com
Subject: Josh Alexander

Greetings,

As a concerned citizen and Catholic, I am reaching out to you to inquire about whether anyone from the Pembroke diocese is assisting Josh Alexander, the Catholic student at Renfrew Country Catholic District School Board who was suspended for defending the rights and dignity of the female students at his school.

This youngster is heroic. Few, especially at his age, would stand for justice and religious conviction in our society today. He was exercising his religious right on behalf of others and is being penalized by a school which should be standing by him. Josh is a true face of what Catholicism was supposed to be, not anything to everybody to appease an agenda that is now taking over our schools and affecting even the youngest children–as males who identify as females dress up in drag.

Please let me know if anyone in your diocese is helping this youngster. It will be of comfort to many.

Thank you kindly,
Christine Williams

*************

On Jan 16, 2023, at 8:13 PM,
Vicar General / Vicaire général <vg@pembrokediocese.com> wrote:

Dear Ms. Williams,

Thank you very much for your email, to which Bishop Desrochers has asked me to reply on his behalf.

The Renfrew County District Catholic School Board is a separate corporation from the Diocese of Pembroke, and it is under the direction of a Board of Trustees. The diocese does not have jurisdiction over the internal life of the Board, nor does the Bishop have the authority to intervene in internal matters. He can, however, exercise moral suasion, and he is in regular contact with the Board’s leadership.

I thank you again for writing.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Michael Smith

Vicar General

**************

From: Christine Williams <cbdw23@gmail.com>
Sent: January 17, 2023 15:59
To: Vicar General / Vicaire général <vg@pembrokediocese.com>
Subject: Re: Your email to the Diocese of Pembroke

Dear Fr Smith:

I am most appreciative that you took the time to reply.

Part of the human duty I believe in the most sincere application of our faith, is to be our brother’s keeper, particularly in instances where bullying and the encroachment upon others is present.

The Catholic Church is founded upon faith and what is being done at St. Joseph’s school is not only a violation of the faith but a violation to the privacy of girls. The young Josh Alexander should not be shouldering the magnitude of what should be the school’s responsibility.

I am a journalist who is following this issue….

Canada: Catholic male teen suspended for defending female-only bathrooms

…..but that role is secondary to the horror I see afflicting our young people, and in a Christian school system, where students should be safe.

I do hope that Bishop Desrochers will use his influence to help Josh (and the girls) at St Joseph, and I am hoping for any possible follow up.

Many blessings Fr Smith.

Christine D-Williams

***********

On Jan 17, 2023, at 6:31 PM,
Vicar General / Vicaire général <vg@pembrokediocese.com> wrote:

Thank you for your reply, Ms. Williams.

I am not party to Bishop Desrochers’ conversations with the Board’s leadership, but it can safely be said that the Bishop can be trusted to uphold Catholic teaching in a manner that is both clear and sensitive to others, especially the vulnerable.

In Christ,

Fr. Michael Smith

Let’s hope that Bishop Desrocher can influence whoever the disgraceful individual or individuals were at St. Joseph’s High School. Let’s also hope that justice and common sense triumph in this case. For some reason, they never do when it comes to the woke.

Original article: “Canada: Catholic male teen suspended for defending female-only bathroom,” posted on January 17, 2023:

Woke insanity is testing the boundaries of Western society. We’ve seen males who identify as females smash records in women’s sports, and a woman raped in a hospital ward by a man who identified as a woman, while the hospital tried to cover it up. Two women also became pregnant in a New Jersey prison after being impregnated by a male identifying as a woman. And a transgender Rikers Island inmate raped a female prisoner while in the women’s section of the jail. A Florida mom sued her daughter’s school for helping her daughter transition without parental consent. We’re also now increasingly witnessing the grooming of children in schools. A children’s hospital gender “program navigator” promotes “giving uteruses from ‘live donors’ to trans women.” Even in Catholic schools, which claim to follow Christian doctrine, are submitting to the woke ideology. A significant case was reported by LifeSite News about a brave teen who defended female-only bathrooms. 16-year-old Josh Alexander was penalized with a 20-day suspension last year by his Catholic school “after he organized a walkout in protest of male students being permitted into the girls’ washroom.”

Josh’s school, St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, states on its website:

St. Joseph’s High School seeks to provide excellence in education within a framework of a Catholic Christian environment. This environment fosters the whole child, and, while academics remain important, we truly believe in the enhancement of the spiritual, moral, and emotional well-being of those belonging to our community. This is consistent with the precepts and foundations of our faith, and forms the basis upon which we choose to be defined. We are called to be nothing less…..

It is puzzling to read those words while also reading the report about Josh’s persecution at this school. St. Joseph’s Catholic High School is part of the Renfrew County Catholic District, and belongs to the Diocese of Pembroke (reception@pembrokediocese.com). So far, there is no mention of the Diocese of Pembroke taking up any defense of Josh. I sent a letter to the diocese, and I await a response.  I will update this post whether or not I receive a reply.

Liberty Coalition Canada (LCC) is helping Josh. A “Notice of Intention to Appeal Suspension” was sent to Mary-Lise Rowat, Superintendent of Educational Services at Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.

January 5, 2023

Mary-Lise Rowat
Superintendent of Educational Services Renfrew County Catholic District School Board 499 Pembroke St W
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1 Phone: 613-735-1031
Email: Mary-Lise.Rowat@rccdsb.ca

Dear Ms. Rowat,

RE: Notice of Intention to Appeal Suspension – Josh Alexander

I write as counsel for Josh Alexander, a 16-year-old grade 11 student at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.
On December 20, 2022, Principal of St. Joseph’s, Derek Lennox confirmed a 20-day suspension (enclosed) issued to Mr. Alexander on November 23, 2022 (the “Suspension”).

Mr. Alexander herein appeals the Suspension pursuant to section 1.1(b)(ii) of RCCDSB Policy Pupil Suspension Appeal (the “Appeal Policy”). For the purposes of this appeal, Mr. Alexander has withdrawn from parental control, is a mature minor, and is competent to instruct counsel in the conduct of the appeal.

As the Suspension has already been served, there is no urgency regarding the timeliness of an Appeal Hearing. Mr. Alexander consents to a hearing date being set later than 15 school days from the date of this Notice and suggests a date be selected that is convenient for all the individuals involved, including his counsel.

Mr. Alexander herein also gives notice of his intention, pursuant to section 2.11(a) of the Appeal Policy, to request the Hearing Committee exercise its discretion to dispense with section 2.8 of the Appeal Policy and thereby open the hearing to the public. He submits the issues underlying the

appeal of the Suspension are matters of public interest and the public interest is best served by removing the hearing from the cover of secrecy. Mr. Alexander will consent to the anonymization of all names excepting his own and that of Mr. Lennox.

Mr. Alexander is agreeable to participating, alongside his counsel, in a settlement meeting as described in section 3.2 of the Appeal Policy.
Mr. Alexander requests the hearing be conducted electronically in accordance with the Electronic Hearing Guidelines. He suggests permitting up to 100 members of the public to attend the virtual hearing will satisfy the public interest in an open hearing in this matter.

Regards,

James S.M. Kitchen Barrister & Solicitor Counsel for Josh Alexander

cc Derek Lennox, Principal, St. Joseph High School (Derek.Lennox@rccdsb.ca)

“Legal group to help Canadian Catholic school teen suspended for defending female-only bathrooms,” LifeSite News, January 10, 2023:

(LifeSiteNews) — Josh Alexander, a Canadian high school student suspended from his Catholic school last year for protesting against allowing gender-confused males to use the girls’ bathroom, is looking to appeal his suspension with legal help from Liberty Coalition Canada (LCC).

On January 5, LCC on behalf of Alexander sent a “Notice of Intention to Appeal Suspension” to Mary-Lise Rowat, Superintendent of Educational Services at Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.

Alexander attends St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, in Renfrew, Ontario, which is served by the Renfrew County Catholic District.

“Mr. Alexander herein appeals the Suspension pursuant to section 1.1(b)(ii) of RCCDSB Policy Pupil Suspension Appeal (the “Appeal Policy”). For the purposes of this appeal, Mr. Alexander has withdrawn from parental control, is a mature minor, and is competent to instruct counsel in the conduct of the appeal,” reads the statement, signed by LCC lawyer James Kitchen.

LCC noted that as the “Suspension has already been served, there is no urgency regarding the timeliness of an Appeal Hearing.”

“Mr. Alexander consents to a hearing date being set later than 15 school days from the date of this Notice and suggests a date be selected that is convenient for all the individuals involved, including his counsel,” adds the notice.

Alexander, who is 16 years old, was handed a lengthy 20-day suspension on November 23, 2022, after organizing a school walkout that same month in support of the rights of girls to access their facilities without having to endure the presence of male students.

He told LifeSiteNews last year that he believes, in accordance with Catholic teaching and the Bible, that there are only two sexes.

The notice of appeal to the RCCDSB states that Alexander requests that the “Hearing Committee exercise its discretion to dispense with section 2.8 of the Appeal Policy and thereby open the hearing to the public.”…..

 

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