TDF takes school board to court over removal of democratically elected trustee

A former trustee was ousted from the school board for memes that some found offensive.

RED DEER: The Democracy Fund (TDF) is taking the Board of Trustees of the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools to court over its expulsion of former trustee Monique LaGrange, who was democratically elected to the board in 2021. LeGrange was removed from the board in November 2023 after she allegedly failed to comply with sanctions imposed on her by the board earlier in the year for posting a meme to her Facebook account that some people found offensive.

The impugned meme depicted two side-by-side photographs, one of children holding swastika flags and the other of children holding pride progress flags. The meme, which drew both support and disapprobation from the community, included a caption stating, “brainwashing is brainwashing.”

The board asked LaGrange to apologize for the meme, but she refused to do so. In speaking to the Western Standard, LaGrange stated, “I was elected to stand up and protect our children, and that is what I am doing.”

The board ultimately ordered LaGrange to undergo sensitivity training at her own expense for allegedly breaching their code of conduct by posting the meme. The board also barred LaGrange from making public statements about the Holocaust and sexual minorities and prohibited her from representing the board in any official capacity and from speaking with news outlets.

Following the board’s decision to censure LaGrange, an interview of LaGrange with Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson, that was filmed prior to the board decision, was released. LaGrange also posted another meme, this one depicting a wolf wearing colourful makeup, with the caption, “I just want to read some books to your chickens.” As a result of these and other alleged breaches of the sanctions, the board voted to expel LaGrange as a trustee.

TDF is partnering with well-known lawyer James Kitchen to challenge the board’s decisions. On December 18, 2023, Kitchen issued two applications for judicial review in the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta. The applications argue that the board’s decisions to censure and expel LaGrange lacked fairness and contained a number of legal errors, including misinterpretation of the board’s policies. They further argue that the sanctions were invalid, inappropriate or disproportionate.

About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.

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