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Controversial Catholic school board trustee out

Catholic school board voted to disqualify Monique LaGrange on Tuesday
Monique LaGrange

Red Deer Regional Catholic School Board has disqualified controversial trustee Monique LaGrange.

The board says in a news release that it made the decision on Tuesday morning to disqualify LaGrange as a trustee for violating sanctions slapped on her on Sept. 26 and for further violations of board policy and the Education Act.

“This decision was made following careful consideration and deliberation, with a commitment to maintaining RDCRS’ foundational statements of supporting inclusive learning communities that foster care and compassion for students, families and staff. As a result of the disqualification, as per Section 90 of the Education Act, LaGrange resigned from her position this morning.

“Effective today, Mrs. LaGrange is no longer a member of the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees.”

The board said it will release detailed reasons for its motion to disqualify LaGrange on or before Nov. 24.

In August, LaGrange posted side-by-side photos of young Nazi supporters and children carrying a rainbow Pride flag and the caption “brainwashing is brainwashing” on her personal Facebook page.

It drew wide condemnation from parent, students, and LGBTQ+ groups, as well as the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, the Alberta Teacher’s Association and some Alberta government leaders — as well as some emails of support.

After two days of Red Deer Catholic School Board deliberations, fellow trustees suspended LaGrange from committee duties and from representing the board at public functions and told her to sincerely apologize and understand why her actions were inappropriate and offensive to many.

Board chair Murray Hollman said in a statement Tuesday that “I affirm our unwavering dedication to fostering a safe, secure, caring, respectful and inclusive learning environment for our students, staff and community members.

“Regrettably, as a result of Trustee LaGrange’s violation of the sanctions placed on her on Sept. 26, 2023, as well as her additional violations of board policy and the Education Act, the board made the challenging decision to disqualify Trustee LaGrange.

“The RDCRS Board of Trustees will continue to work diligently to advance our educational objectives and maintain the trust and support of our community.”

In an Oct. 19 Talk Truth podcast, LaGrange defended her post.

“The way they (the board) have interpreted it is wrong. It’s not what the post means. And so they have interpreted it as saying that I think transgender kids or kids from that community aren’t worth it, to be gassed, that sort of thing, which is horrifying to me.

“They completely twisted what the meme means and they let it stay at that. They let it sit at what their beliefs were. I specifically explained what my thinking was when I saw that meme and what the meme meant. But my words didn’t matter.”

She said she does not know what she is supposed to apologize for.

“If I’m apologizing that means I’ve been wrong about something. So, like I still have no idea what they want me to apologize about. I’ll continue to advocate for kids.”

LaGrange said her lawyer is applying to the Court of King’s Bench for a judicial review of the school board’s ruling.

In October, the school board released a 15-page document about the nature of the discussions that led to sanctions against LaGrange.

Among LaGrange’s arguments was freedom of expression and that the Holy Spirit had told her to “go for it” and make the post.

She said it was regarding an objectionable ideology and not against 2SLGBTQ1A+ groups.

The board did not accept this, saying a reasonable person would see the post as making a negative comparison.

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