CITIZENS SUPPORT TRUSTEE PATRICIA GRELL FOR STANDING UP FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF A 7-YEAR-OLD TRANSGENDER GIRL

CITIZENS SUPPORT TRUSTEE PATRICIA GRELL FOR STANDING UP FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF A 7-YEAR-OLD TRANSGENDER GIRL

Edmonton Catholic School Board to Sanction Trustee Grell

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday, May 19, 2015 – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

#SupportPatricia: Citizens United for Human Rights are deeply concerned by the actions of the Edmonton Catholic School District (ECSD). The ECSD are scheduled to hold a Special Meeting on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 9:00am and a public board meeting at 4:00 pm.  The only item on the morning agenda is the “Restructure of Board governance”.  It is widely speculated that the intent of the restructuring is to punish Trustee Grell for her outspoken support of a 7-year-old transgender girl who has been discriminated against by ECSD.

The mother of the child at the center of this human rights complaint (who asked her name not be used for fear of harassment) states, “I am deeply disturbed by how (Board Chair) Debbie Engel is making light of this situation.  At no point was it indicated to us that it was just a suggestion for my child to use the gender neutral washroom.  This was not indicated when a teacher followed her into a washroom and told her she is not to go in there.  So to Debbie Engel I say, ‘Shame on you’”.

“I chose to speak publicly about this issue because I was dismayed that our District chose to wait to hear the results from a human rights complaint to take inclusive action,” says ECSD Trustee Patricia Grell. “I believe that we do not need the Human Rights Commission to tell us how to treat our trans students. We have the Gospel, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and more recently, statements from Pope Francis, which tell us we are called to love and welcome those on the margins of our society.  We don’t have to agree morally with everything everyone does, but we can love and accept one another just as Jesus loves us.  I am hoping that my fellow trustees on the ECSD Board will show the same compassion for this child and all trans children attending our schools so they may use the bathroom with which they identify, and most importantly, so they may live in a place of peace and acceptance in our schools.”

As concerned citizens, we stand for human rights and the universal principles of inclusion and acceptance this 7-year-old girl deserves. Quite simply, she deserves to be treated like any other girl in her school.  We also stand for the rights of elected officials, like Patricia, to represent the voices of their constituents, and to be able to speak up against discrimination and injustice without fear of prejudice or retribution. The members of the #SupportPatricia, who organized last Friday’s rally in front of ECSD, will be present at the 4pm public meeting and encourage all concerned citizens to show their support for human rights and join us to pack the ECSD boardroom as a sign of solidarity for Patricia and this 7-year-old child who simply wants her school to love and accept her fully and completely in her lived gender identity.

If you would like more information please contact #SupportPatricia: Citizens United for Human Rights:

Marni Panas:      780.953.8867              marni.panas@gmail.com   @marnipanas

Kim Alwick:        780.200.8925               kimmieluwho@yahoo.ca     @kim_buttons

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