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‘I said there were only two genders’ — Catholic school in Canada has student expelled, arrested after expressing Catholic beliefs…

‘I said there were only two genders’ — Catholic school in Canada has student expelled, arrested after expressing Catholic beliefs…

Student: ‘I said there were only two genders and you were born either a male or a female and that got me into trouble’

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That Canada is becoming less tolerant comes as no surprise, but even so a Catholic high school getting one of their 16-year-old students arrested is a bit of a shock, especially when the heart of the issue is his religious beliefs.

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Josh Alexander was arrested by police Monday afternoon for breaching an exclusion order, but the real crime that the student is being punished for is upholding his Catholic beliefs and doing so in what some would no doubt think is a defiant and troublesome manner.

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Josh, a Christian, believes there are only two genders, that people can’t switch genders, and that male students shouldn’t use girls’ washrooms. But expressing those views in a classroom discussion on gender at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in Renfrew, Ont., got him suspended.

“I got suspended for comments made during a class discussion,” said Josh in an interview. “It was about male students using female washrooms, gender dysphoria and male breastfeeding. Everyone was sharing their opinions on it, any student who wanted to was participating, including the teacher.

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“I said there were only two genders and you were born either a male or a female and that got me into trouble. And then I said that gender doesn’t trump biology.”

“Freedom once taken for granted is lost,” the Grade 11 student added. “Freedom of religion is probably one of our most important freedoms so I’m not going to surrender it in the face of persecution.

“It just goes to show how little freedom of expression we have in our country.”

James Kitchen, a lawyer from the Liberty Defense Fund which is representing Josh, said in a statement that the student was told he could only return to school “if he agreed not to 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.”

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Josh said he had never “dead named” anyone, that is referred to their previous name before transitioning.

“Compelling Josh to utter falsehoods regarding gender contrary to his beliefs and segregating him from classes are repugnant manifestations of religious discrimination,” said Kitchen.

Matters escalated when Josh was later served with an exclusion order.

On Monday, when he tried to go school, the cops were called and he got arrested.

“I walked into one of my classes. I sat down and everyone looked pretty surprised to see me there. Within two minutes the vice-principal was in the classroom asking me to leave,” Josh said.

He left the class and “almost immediately I was met with the police.” Josh was put in the back of a cruiser, driven off property and later released and charged with trespassing.

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Some will say Josh knew what he was doing, that he was breaking the rules by trespassing and he suffered the consequences.

But is that the society we want to become? Arresting 16-year-old kids for turning up at school when they’ve been suspended for their religious beliefs? Was there no other way? Could the school not have tried harder to find a solution? Was calling the police really the only option?

It appears we are now so intolerant that we cannot stand people defending their religious beliefs in a classroom at a supposedly religious school.

Josh doesn’t appear to be a shrinking violet. He obviously holds strong beliefs and is passionate about them.

Maybe he’s seen as troublesome. Maybe his religious principles seem quaint, outdated and decidedly un-woke. The principal of St Joseph’s probably wishes he had never heard of him.

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But being a pain in the nether region shouldn’t be a criminal offence and we shouldn’t be using charges like trespassing to turn it into one.

“I think I used to be seen as a Christian kid following my beliefs, but now apparently I’m the rebel,” he said.

“The school knows I’m not trying to be a problematic kid. The police know that as well. They didn’t even put me in cuffs when they arrested me. They know that I wasn’t actually a threat to anybody.”

According to its website, St Joseph’s works to promote “education within a framework of a Catholic Christian environment.”

It adds, “We truly believe in the enhancement of the spiritual, moral, and emotional well-being of those belonging to our community.”

Kitchen, Josh’s lawyer, would disagree.

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“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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

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In a statement, the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board said it “deeply respects religious freedoms. This is fundamental to our values as a Catholic school board. Our Mission states: ‘We are an inclusive Catholic learning community called to love unconditionally and educate hearts and minds in the way of Christ.”

The board said on human rights issues, it takes its guidance from the policies issued by the Ontario Human Rights (OHR) Commission and directives issued by the Ministry of Education.

Its washroom practices follow the OHR guidelines that state that trans people “have the right to access these facilities based on their lived gender identity.”

St. Joseph’s school principal Derek Lennox declined an interview saying in an email, “The information that you requested is protected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act as it deals with a specific student, therefore I am unable to respond to your request.”

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His email also contained a tagline under the signature which said, “Dear young people, do not bury your talents, the gifts that God has given you! Do not be afraid to dream of great things!” — Pope Francis.

Now that’s irony at its finest.

St. Joseph’s may want Josh Alexander to hide his light under a bushel, but he’s listening to a different teacher.

National Post

Editor’s note: This column has been updated to include a statement from the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board.

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