A Red Deer Catholic School trustee, Monique LaGrange, claims the Holy Spirit guided her to share a controversial meme on her personal Facebook page. The ensuing uproar has led to sanctions and a directive to offer an apology.
Public Disclosure of the Incident
The details of this incident were disclosed in a 15-page document made public by the local Catholic School board upon the request of LaGrange’s lawyer.
Insights from Closed-Door Discussions
The document provides insights into the closed-door discussions held on September 25 and 26 by the school board as they grappled with public criticism of LaGrange’s actions.
It all began in late August when the trustee posted a meme featuring two side-by-side photographs. One depicted historic young Nazi supporters, while the other showed contemporary youth holding a rainbow Pride flag.
The caption read, “brainwashing is brainwashing.”
Brainwashing or Critique?
LaGrange contended that the meme wasn’t a commentary on the LGBTQ+ community but rather a criticism of indoctrination.
She insisted it wasn’t a comparison of the two groups but an objection to a particular ideology and a call to protect children from it.
She expressed concerns about what she perceived as the agenda of the United Nations and Planned Parenthood, which she saw as an attempt to interfere with young people’s identities and destinies while co-opting the LGBTQ+ movement.
A Matter Between God, Parent, and Child
According to LaGrange, students’ sexuality and beliefs should be matters “between God, parent, and child,” and decisions related to sexual orientation should not be made or influenced in schools, especially in Catholic institutions.
Manipulation of the LGBTQ+ Movement
She argued that the school was using the Pride flag and cancel culture to stifle discussions, which conflicted with her religious beliefs.
She emphasized the importance of vigilance in what influences children.
The Holy Spirit’s Role
LaGrange also made an interesting claim that the Holy Spirit had instructed her to post the meme, saying she got told, “Go for it.”
Charter of Rights Protection
Her lawyer, James Kitchen, contended that her actions followed her Catholic beliefs and were protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights. However, the board dismissed these arguments.
Violation of Policies and the Education Act
The board justified its decision by stating that LaGrange’s actions contravened the Alberta Education Act and Red Deer Catholic School Board policies.
Freedom of Expression Boundaries
They emphasized that “freedom of expression is not absolute,” and trustees should be aware of public perception regarding their posts and comments on social media.
The board found that LaGrange had placed her personal interests above her duties as a trustee.
She had failed to consider the potential harm her post might cause to the board’s reputation and did not bring her concerns to the table for discussion before posting.
Her conduct was deemed inconsistent with the highest ethical and professional standards expected of trustees.
A Negative Comparison
Furthermore, the board rejected the assertion that the meme had no connection to Nazism, stating that a reasonable person could conclude that a negative comparison was made when viewing the two photographs.
Consequences for LaGrange
As a consequence of this decision, LaGrange was suspended from committee duties and representing the board at public functions.
The board also instructed her to issue a sincere apology and gain an understanding of why people considered her actions inappropriate and offensive.
Future Legal Proceedings
Despite the board’s decision, LaGrange and her lawyer will be seeking a judicial review of the case in the Court of King’s Bench.
Freedom of Expression vs. Inclusivity
The incident has sparked a wider conversation about the balance between freedom of expression and adherence to statutes and policies that promote inclusivity and diversity in educational institutions.
As this case unfolds, it remains a complex issue.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock /Zivica Kerkez . The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.