Alberta’s education minister says he will be following up with the chair of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools board to discuss a social media post made by one trustee.
Last week, trustee Monique LaGrange published an Instagram story that likened the Pride movement to Nazism. The post featured two photos – an older black and white photo featuring children waving flags with Swastikas and a modern colour photo featuring children waving Pride flags – with the caption, “Brainwashing is brainwashing.”
Minister of Education Demetrios Nicolaides issued a statement on Twitter late Friday evening.
“No one should have to live in fear of violence, discrimination, or exclusion,” Nicolaides said.
“All students deserve to feel safe and welcome in schools across the province. I am beyond disappointed to see this and categorically condemn these actions. I will be following up with the Chair of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools board to discuss this incident.”
Rakhi Pancholi, Alberta NDP education critic, called on Nicolaides to launch “a full investigation” into the conduct of LaGrange and her comments.
“School trustees are responsible for multi-billion-dollar budgets and make critical decisions about the education of Alberta children. These positions are critical,” Pancholi said in a media release on Sunday.
“We cannot be confident that someone with hateful views such as those expressed by Red Deer Catholic school trustee Monique LaGrange is putting the interests of children first.”
In a statement on Friday morning, RDCRS stated the division “immediately engaged” its Trustee Code of Conduct upon learning about the social media post. LaGrange complied with the board’s request to remove the social media post.
The Central Alberta Pride Society sent a letter to RDCRS board chair Anne Marie Watson. The organization published that letter on social media Saturday.
“We would like a formal apology by her to the students, teachers and parents of the Red Deer Catholic school division, as well as the LGBTW2S+ community,” the letter states.
“Along with this, we are also requesting that Ms. Monique LaGrange either step down from her position as a board member or be removed immediately.
“Ms. LaGrange’s actions were not taken lightly by many parents as well as Central Alberta’s LGBTQ2S+ community. Yes, social media posts and comments can be removed, but sometimes that is not enough. We trust that you and your fellow board members will take further immediate action to this situation.”
In a media release, the Central Alberta Pride Society called LaGrange’s post “a very hateful graphic towards the LGBTQ2S community.”