February 21, 2024

Higdon mentioned his resignation isn’t due to feedback made on his non-public Fb web page in June that critics referred to as transphobic.

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Jonathan Higdon has resigned as a trustee with the Fort McMurray Catholic Faculty Division (FMCSD). He mentioned his resignation isn’t due to feedback made on his non-public Fb web page in June that critics referred to as transphobic.

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Higdon mentioned his resignation, introduced on the district’s Nov. 27 assembly, is due to a busy work schedule preserving him from attending month-to-month conferences and occasions.

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“I consider that this straight impacts my function as a trustee and the power to control to the very best of my skill for my constituents,” he wrote in a Monday night assertion from FMCSD. “I’ll proceed to be an advocate for Catholic Schooling and can maintain the relationships I’ve constructed carefully to my coronary heart and sit up for contributing to this group in different methods.”

Higdon mentioned he made his resolution “after a lot prayer, consideration and dialog” with individuals near him. He mentioned he loved his time as a trustee and the choice was not simple to make. FMCSD board chair Cathie Langmead thanked Higdon for his work and wished him nicely.

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“Because the board acknowledges the resignation of Trustee Jonathan Higdon, we want to thank Jonathan for his service to Fort McMurray Catholic Colleges,” she mentioned. “We respect his resolution with reference to his scheduling commitments as a result of his work schedule.”

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Folks stroll beneath totally different Pleasure Flags of the 2SLGBTQIA+ group on the Pleasure YMM Pageant at Fort McMurray Heritage Shipyard on June 24, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray As we speak/Postmedia Community

FMCSD engaged on coaching dates with Pleasure YMM

Higdon rejected accusations that previous feedback are hateful in the direction of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. He additionally refused calls to resign when his feedback grew to become public.

One put up mentioned “it’s an abomination to suppose {that a} God made you a male while you have been speculated to be feminine and vice versa. God doesn’t make errors.” A separate put up confirmed a mom and father shielding their youngsters from a rainbow, with the caption “I’ll train my baby so there isn’t any confusion.”

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“It’s time to be much less tolerant of right this moment’s worldly ideologies,” he wrote, including his put up “doesn’t imply I’m homophobic, doesn’t imply I don’t respect people who suppose otherwise” and “neither of our opinions is lower than the others.”

Higdon mentioned in a video on his Fb web page he has nothing private towards 2SLGBTQIA+ college students being open about their beliefs, and is ok with households elevating youngsters with the values of the 2SLGBTQIA+ group. He mentioned his feedback weren’t meant to be hateful in the direction of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals and didn’t imply to offend anybody. He denied calling them an abomination, arguing “that’s not religion.”

However he wouldn’t apologize for beliefs he referred to as typical of Catholic college trustees.

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Mitchel Bowers joins a counter-protest supporting sexual and gender training in faculties, organized by Pleasure YMM in downtown Fort McMurray on Saturday, October 21, 2023. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray As we speak/Postmedia Community

Higdon’s June video got here after an emotional board assembly. Audio system Michael Jesso and Pleasure YMM chair Mitchel Bowers mentioned Higdon’s libertarian method in the direction of his religion and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals was inappropriate for an elected official.

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Each critics accused FMCSD of failing 2SLGBTQIA+ college students within the months earlier than the assembly. Bowers mentioned a rainbow show was faraway from Holy Trinity Excessive Faculty, Pleasure Week was shortened to a day and a trainer misgendered a transgender mother or father. Bowers demanded an apology from Higdon. Jesso needed his resignation.

About 75 per cent of a crowd of dozens packing the assembly cheered and gave Higdon a standing ovation when one individual shouted his help for the trustee. Higdon mentioned in his video he was silent on the assembly as a result of the help overwhelmed him.

All trustees, together with Higdon, mentioned in a June assertion that FMCSD would work with Pleasure YMM “to reaffirm and construct upon our inclusive practices.” A FMCSD spokesperson confirmed Monday that FMCSD continues to be coordinating a date with Pleasure YMM for coaching on 2SLGBTQIA+ points.

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