During closed-door meetings last month, Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools (RDCRS) trustee Monique LaGrange told board members the Holy Spirit instructed her to make a social media post that included children waving Nazi swastikas, according to release issued by the division on Oct. 16.
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.”
On Sept. 26, the RDCRS board passed a motion imposing sanctions on LaGrange for the post. The sanctions include her removal from board committees and a direction that she writes a public letter of apology.
The 10,650-student RDCRS division includes schools in Innisfail and Olds. LaGrange has not responded to Albertan requests for comment.
On Oct. 16 the board released a 15-page document titled Reasons for Decision in Furtherance of the September 25 and 26, 2023 Special Board Meeting outlining its reasons for censuring LaGrange.
In the document the board said LaGrange was sanctioned for breaching several board policies by making the social media post. Specifically, the board said LaGrange breached clauses 1, 6.2, 6.4 and 6.18 of board policy 3 and clauses 1, 6, 10 and 22 of board policy 4, and clause 6 and 22 of the Code of Conduct.
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The document also includes a summary of comments the board says were made by LaGrange during the meetings.
“The trustee was clear that her beliefs informed her views: she stated the Holy Spirit told her to post the meme and this was something she should do,” the board states in the document. “The trustee submitted that Catholic school trustees rely on their beliefs to do their work and should be able to express their religious beliefs as school board trustees.
“The trustee informed the board her religious beliefs informed her views. When asked to explain her discernment process around the meme post, the trustee: thought that the meme post reflected the truth about today; informed the board that the Holy Spirit said to the trustee, Go for it; trusts the Holy Spirit and decided to share the meme post.”
The trustee made several statements, according to the board, including that the “meme post is about indoctrination through the United Nations which directly correlates to World War II and Nazism; it is about the agenda of the United Nations and Planned Parenthood which is an attempt to sabotage our youths’ identities and destinies and hijack the LGBTQ community's original mandate.
“The sexuality and beliefs of students is a topic that should be between God, parent and a child; equal orientation decisions should not be made or influenced at school, especially Catholic schools.
“That the Pride flag is used to silence people; children are being kicked out of school and people are being fired which is antithetical to the trustee’s religious beliefs; and that ‘cancel culture’ is not what is good, lawful, appropriate or democratic.”
LaGrange’s post has been widely condemned, including by the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA), the Alberta Catholic Trustees' Association, and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
In a release, the 46,000-member ATA said, “In a recent Facebook post, Red Deer Catholic trustee Monique LaGrange drew a direct parallel between the promotion of fascism in Nazi Germany and efforts to recognize sexual and gender diversity and to create safe and welcoming spaces for all students. This is intended to incite hate.”
The Pride movement promotes and protects the 2SLGBTQ1A+ community.