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Red Deer Catholic school trustee resigns over Nazi, Pride post sanctions

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools board says Monique LaGrange violated sanctions issued on Sept. 26 and further violated board policy and the Education Act.
Former school board trustee Monique LaGrange. File photo

INNISFAIL - Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) trustee Monica LaGrange has resigned from the board after her fellow trustees passed a motion Tuesday disqualifying her from continuing to hold her elected position, say officials.

In a release issued Tuesday afternoon, the board of the 10,600-student division said the decision to disqualify the first-term trustee was “due to LaGrange violating sanctions issued on September 26, 2023 and 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 (Nov. 14). Effective today, Mrs. LaGrange is no longer a member of the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees.” 

In late August, LaGrange posted on her personal Facebook account two photographs, one an historical photograph of a group of children holding Nazi flags with swastikas and one a contemporary photograph of children holding rainbow Pride flags. 

The meme post included a caption stating: “Brainwashing is brainwashing.”

Tuesday’s motion passed by the board states that “further to the November 13 and 14, 2023, in camera discussions, and after having carefully considered all the points raised therein, and in accordance with Board Policy and the Education Act, Trustee LaGrange has violated sanctions issued on September 26, 2023, and had further violated Board Policy and the Education Act. 

“As a result, Trustee LaGrange is hereby disqualified under section 87(1)(c) of the Education Act and Board Policy from remaining as a school board trustee.”

The release stated that board will issue detailed reasons in support of its motion by Nov. 24.

Board chair Murray Hollman issued the following statement: “As the chair of the RDCRS Board of Trustees, 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 September 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 release did not say in what way LaGrange had violated the sanctions imposed on Sept. 26.

Following in-camera board meetings on Sept. 25-26, the board sanctioned LaGrange for violating the division’s Code of Conduct and the Education Act.

Those sanctions included not being permitted to represent the board or school division in any official capacity, including board/school division functions, events, award ceremonies, conferences, assemblies, school masses, graduation events, school council meetings and speaking with news/media outlets.

The sanction also required LaGrange to issue a “sincere public letter of apology to school division students, staff, and the board in relation to the meme” and the apology must “recognize the inappropriateness of the trustee’s actions and that the trustee is deeply sorry for having offended anyone through her actions.”

In an Albertan interview last month, LaGrange’s lawyer, James Kitchen, said his client did not intend to issue an apology for her social media post nor would she be taking sensitivity training about the Holocaust or the 2SLGBTQ1A+ community as required under the Sept. 26 sanctions.

The RDCRS division includes schools in Olds and Innisfail.

The Pride movement promotes and protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and others.

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