Canadian Catholic school suspends pupil for distributing letter promoting modesty

Paul Gomille,  a 17 year old student at Archbishop Denis O’Connor high school in Ajax, Ontario has been suspended for distributing a letter on modesty to fellow students, which he refused to censor on the direction of school authorities:

When Gomille first showed his letter to the principal, Mrs. Donna Modeste, he said that she was “pretty thrilled about it” and planned to have him read it at an upcoming assembly. School officials who vetted Gomille’s letter, however, told the young man that he would have to make some changes before delivering his message.

School officials reportedly objected to a passage in the letter where Gomille indicated who the letter was directed to:

“The people this message concerns are the young women of this school, and of the world. In particular, it concerns the silent ones, the intelligent ones, the ones that don’t talk about people behind their backs, the ones that guys don’t flock to in droves, the ones that don’t dress in revealing clothing, the ones who would love to be in love, and the ones that are continually disappointed in their appearance because the only thing they have to compare themselves to are the women that have been put on pedestals by our society. This message also concerns those of you who may consider yourselves the so called ‘opposite’ to the demographic I just described. The ones who do dress in revealing clothing, and the ones who try to fit in with the crowd.”

“They saw it as judgmental,” Gomille told CityTV. Gomille refused to alter his letter, arguing that a revision would dilute his message. As a consequence, the young man was forbidden to read the speech.

But Gomille, not to be deterred, photocopied his speech in its original form, and he and his friends distributed 136 copies to classmates in the Cafeteria during lunch hour. Within hours, Gomille was brought to the principal’s office and suspended for two days for “opposition to authority.” He served the suspension February 15th and 16th.

News of Gomille’s suspension incited fellow students to launch a protest on Tmblr, Twitter and Facebook. A “Free Paul” petition was signed by over 230 people.

“It was a great letter, pointing out to girls that they don’t need to dress like sluts to get the attention of guys. […] Just because someone wanted to be a gentleman, he got suspended,” wrote one student on Tmblr.

A source in Ajax told LifeSiteNews that students were receiving detentions from school authorities for speaking about Gomille’s suspension to media.

Gomille’s parents reportedly intend to appeal the suspension, arguing that their son did not deserve such a severe punishment for handing out a positive message.

“I wrote it just because I had the inspiration to and I felt it was a message that had to be said,” said Gomille to the News Advertiser.

Fellow student Jenna Bilenduke and other flattered female students felt otherwise, many calling Gomille’s suspension an overreaction on the part of administration. “I thought it was pretty deep. It’s something everyone wants to hear,” said student Alyssa Rochford.

“He’s one of the nicest kids in our school,” friend Laura Favacho said. “I backed him 100 per cent,” Bilenduke said. “(The letter) was an expression of beauty.”

Here’s Paul’s letter to students on modesty:

‘A Letter to Young Women, by Paul Gomille
February 14, 2012

Could I please have your attention for a few moments? I guarantee you won’t regret listening to what I have to say. You definitely won’t regret hearing this in your life time, especially from a man of dignity. It’s an idea that I have held close to my heart even before the kilt controversy arose in the media. This message is not meant to address the kilt controversy directly by any means, but rather, this message is a general and all-encompassing statement. It is a message about the qualities that really matter in a woman, and what really makes a woman attractive. Although this speech has some relevance to the way women dress and present themselves nowadays, the message in this speech goes far beyond one’s preferences, or feelings of pressure, as it relates to the way they dress, and it goes far beyond any concept of modernity. It strikes at the very core of humanity itself, in an attempt to make a revelation of truth apparent to all of you, with awe inspiring certainty. If you read this, and receive anything less than a feeling of absolution from it, then I have committed a grave sin, a sin against myself and a sin against all of you.

The people this message concerns are the young women of this school, and of the world. In particular, it concerns the silent ones, the intelligent ones, the ones that don’t talk about people behind their backs, the ones that guys don’t flock to in droves, the ones that don’t dress in revealing clothing, the ones who would love to be in love, and the ones that are continually disappointed in their appearance because the only thing they have to compare themselves to are the women that have been put on pedestals by our society. This message also concerns those of you who may consider yourselves the so called “opposite” to the demographic I just described. The ones who do dress in revealing clothing, and the ones who try to fit in with the crowd.

You don’t need to dress or act a certain way to fit in, to feel attractive, or to BE attractive. You’re all far more attractive than you realize. All of you. But that’s not to say that you should all dress in revealing clothing. No, not at all. Sure, a girl who dresses that way might turn a few heads, and get some compliments. But real attractiveness doesn’t come from wearing the latest fashion, and it doesn’t come from being scantily clad in public, or putting on make-up, or having a pretty face, or a nice body. No. Real attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity. It comes from having class. It comes from being true to yourself, being yourself, and being comfortable in your own skin. This message is for all young women within the sound of my voice and beyond. You’re all beautiful. You all have inner beauty AND outer beauty.

Protect the Pope comment: The question has to be asked, even of a Catholic school in Canada, would school officials have attempted to censor Paul Gomille’s letter if he had been promoting the use of condoms and safe sex among fellow pupils, a letter that identified a group within the student body as needing to read his letter? Doubt it.

What is deemed most offensive by the PC elite are not attacks on virtue but holding society and our peers up to objective moral standards that might make them feel uncomfortable about the choices they have made. This is dismissed and relativised as being ‘judgmental’ when in fact it is measuring behaviour against objective moral standards that until these insane times were accepted by the majority of people.

http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-student-suspended-for-distributing-letter-supporting-modesty?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=ef01a17be7-LifeSiteNews_com_Intl_Headlines_03_05_2012&utm_medium=email

8 comments to Canadian Catholic school suspends pupil for distributing letter promoting modesty

  • Karla

    The letter is beautiful! The school officials should be ashamed of themselves for censoring it.

  • Karla

    Off topic: Huge sex abuse scandal could erupt in Ireland – But not in Catholic Church:

    http://www.themediareport.com/2012/03/07/sex-abuse-scandal-explodes-in-ireland/

  • Peter Dennis

    A few comments and questions spring to mind:

    1. Why do religious people always want to control women? I’m not singling RCs out here – other religions do it too, some much worse (I need mention no names …). But why is his letter aimed only at the girls? Why isn’t he telling other boys to dress modestly?

    2. Why does he feel it is any of his business what the girls are wearing? I wouldn’t dare tell a woman what she should and shouldn’t wear. For girls aged under 18, it is a matter for the girl, her parents and the school dress code. For women over 18, it is no-one else’s business what she wears.

    3. Why is he so arrogant as to assume that the girls care what he thinks? Does he really think that any of them care that he thinks they are “far more attractive than you realize”? The letter is dripping with an arrogant and condescending assumption that his views on attractiveness are important and relevant (e.g. “It is a message about the qualities that really matter in a woman, and what really makes a woman attractive”. He forgets that it’s only his opinion). I’ve got news for the letter writer – his views aren’t important and relevant (or at least they are no more important and relevant than any other person’s views).

    4. The letter writer is also guilty of the very thing he is accusing others of. He urges the girls to be more than just dressed-up and made-up. But he stereotypes all the girls who do dress-up and make-up into one category. Why does he believe that all such girls aren’t “the silent ones,the intelligent ones,the ones that don’t talk about people behind their backs,the ones that guys don’t flock to in droves…the ones who would love to be in love,and the ones that are continually disappointed in their appearance because the only thing they have to compare themselves to are the women that have been put on pedestals by our society”? He himself can’t see beyond the clothes.

  • Peter Dennis raises serious questions. I would also like to add that “these insane times” rightly condemn the Taliban for its extremist notions of modesty. It is one thing to ask others to dress appropriately or that appearance is not so important, but it is another thing entirely to force women to completely hide themselves. I do agree that the suspension was an overreaction to some people’s complaints.

  • ms catholic state

    It’s incidents like this that make you almost support US attempts to close Catholic schools.

    Peter…modesty is the glue that holds society and relationships together. It is not fair to attract the attention of other women’s husbands etc. And it is in the interests of all that women are modestly (though beautifully we hope) dressed.

  • Peter Dennis

    Ms Catholic State: that’s lovely n’all, and I certainly wouldn’t criticise you for dressing modestly (as I said, I wouldn’t dare tell anyone else what they should and shouldn’t wear). But what does anyone else’s dress code have to do with you?

    And “It is not fair to attract the attention of other women’s husbands etc”? Oh, please. Don’t you believe in the concept of personal responsibility? Isn’t it the responsibility of “other women’s husbands” to resist temptation?

    • ms catholic state

      As I said….it is not fair that in dressing immodestly some women tempt and attract the attentions of other women’s husbands. That is selfishness…and it is certainly the responsibility of men to resist such temptations as it is of women to avoid putting it in their paths in the first place. It’s just a matter of respect for other people….and kindness.

  • [...] really do lean further than most…. Watch the news report here or from Deacon Nick: Paul Gomille,  a 17 year old student at Archbishop Denis O’Connor high school in [...]

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