Alberta Catholic trustee appeals dismissal

  • January 11, 2024

An Alberta school trustee who lost her position for an Aug. 27 social media post comparing the LGBT community to Nazi Germany is appealing her dismissal.

Monique LaGrange, elected in 2021, has declared in several interviews that her since-deleted post was not about attacking the LGBT community, but rather protecting the innocence of children. In the post, she juxtaposed two photos, one of children waving Nazi swastikas, the other of children waving rainbow flags with the caption, “Brainwashing is brainwashing.”

“The story meme is centred around indoctrination and how children are vulnerable to evil agendas filtering through culture,” LaGrange told The Western Standard. “This meme is not comparing or attacking the LGBTQ community, it is about protecting our children and keeping parents as the primary educators.”

LaGrange, who has declined media requests over the past couple of months, hopes the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta will reinstate her after the Red Deer Catholic Regional School board of trustees “disqualified” her from serving the school division on Nov. 14.

A press release issued the same day indicated the board voted to fire LaGrange because she “violated sanctions issued on Sept. 26, 2023, and had further violated board policy and the Education Act.” Later in November, the board released a report stating LaGrange defied the sanction forbidding her from publicly commenting about the LGBT community.

Other penalties levied on LaGrange demanded a sincere written apology and mandatory sensitivity training about the Holocaust and the LGBT community. She refused to comply with both.

Attempts by the board to remove LaGrange date back to early September. According to the court application, the board passed a motion on Sept. 5 to send a letter to Alberta Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides seeking LaGrange’s removal.

Following LaGrange not offering an apology or “remorse,” but instead “holding the conviction she had done nothing wrong or inappropriate in making the post” during a “conciliatory” meeting on Sept. 6, board chair Murray Hollman again implored Nicolaides to help remove LaGrange. She was stripped of her director role with the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

James Kitchen, LaGrange’s lawyer since Sept. 15, said the board ultimately opted for the formal hearing on Sept. 25 “as they realized they stepped in it a little bit” by rushing to expel their colleague instead of adhering to the division’s code of conduct procedures for disciplinary matters.

Kitchen anticipates the hearing to occur in the second half of 2024, with a decision to come early in 2025. The civil litigation lawyer wrote in the court application that “the board committed an incurable procedural error and its decision must be quashed on this basis alone,” and this group’s “decision is also tainted by bias in the form of prejudgment.”

Kitchen is also lead counsel for Josh Alexander, a 17-year-old who has been suspended for over a year from St. Joseph’s High School in Pembroke, Ont., for stating during a classroom discussion God created only two genders.

Though no aspect of LaGrange’s case shocks Kitchen considering his body of work, he said it is still surprising how secular beliefs are apparently more welcome at the RDCRS than LaGrange’s Catholic viewpoints.

“It is bizarre. You would expect the vast majority of Catholic school board trustees to have beliefs and act like Monique LaGrange. She is believing, thinking and acting in accordance to written down Catholic beliefs. The ones who kicked her off obviously are not.”

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