Red Deer Catholic school trustee Monique LaGrange has been banned from committee meetings and is prohibited from representing the school board in public in response to a social media post comparing gender “brainwashing” to Nazi indoctrination.
LaGrange must also undergo sensitivity training about the Holocaust and LGBT issues, though she has “no regret” about her post.
The motion passed by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) requires LaGrange to issue a public apology to have her powers reinstated, though doing so would violate her rights, her lawyer argues.
“She didn’t do anything wrong,” said James Kitchen.
“Part of this motion is that she has to go to this re-education and sensitivity training and she has to issue an apology, which is impossible for her to do without lying and violating her conscience because she has nothing to apologise for.”
Board vice-chair Dorraine Lonsdale initially complained about the meme LaGrange posted to Instagram and Facebook, which featured a picture of children waving the Pride Progress flag beside an archival photo of German children waving the Nazi flag with the caption “brainwashing is brainwashing.”
The complaint resulted in a two-day hearing in which the board, while in camera, heard testimony from LaGrange, Lonsdale, and their legal representatives. The hearings resulted in the trustees voting to reprimand LaGrange.
While Kitchen confirmed that LaGrange does not plan on issuing an apology, he was not yet able to say whether LaGrange will attend the prescribed sensitivity training sessions for the Holocaust and the LGBT community.
“Practically speaking, it seems difficult because the end goal of the sensitivity training is for her to issue an apology she won’t be able to issue in good conscience without lying,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen said LaGrange may challenge the decision in court by seeking a judicial review.
While the RDCRS publicly released the motion censuring LaGrange, the board has not published the reasons behind its punishment.