News

AJAX, Ontario, March 5, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A grade 12 student at a Catholic high school in Ontario was suspended in February after handing out a letter containing his thoughts on the need for greater modesty in his school.

“[R]eal 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,” wrote Paul Gomille, 17, in his Valentine’s Day letter addressed to all women, which he handed out at Archbishop Denis O’Connor high school in Ajax, Ontario during lunch hour.

“[R]eal attractiveness comes from having a certain dignity,” he continued. “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.”

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.

Attempts to reach Principal Modeste and Gomille for comment were unsuccessful.

The incident has sparked a national discussion. In a scathing editorial in The Toronto Star yesterday Heather Mallick called Gomille a “controlling man” for his message of “nonsense.” “Keep your advice to yourself, preacher. Trust me, girls like that in a boy,” she wrote.

But Matt Gurney wondered last Friday in the National Post what exactly was offensive about Gomille’s message to his female peers.

“Mr. Gomille has his opinions, but they aren’t insulting, racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic or even indelicately expressed. No specific students are named, no one is harassed or bullied. Even in our Zero Tolerance era, what did Mr. Gomille write that was intolerant? Indeed, his message, slightly tweaked, could be slotted directly into a Go Girls! self-esteem brochure without seeming out of place.”

Even Lesbian Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs, chimed in on Twitter on Friday that she thought that “17-year-old Paul Gomille was trying to start an important conversation at his high school.”

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.

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.

Contacts:

Durham Catholic District School Board
Representing Ajax: Janice Oldman
Ph: (905) 683-9169
E-mail: [email protected]

Archdiocese of Toronto
Neil MacCarthy, Director of Public Relations and Communications
Ph: (416) 934-0606
E-mail: [email protected]

 

Comments

Commenting Guidelines
LifeSiteNews welcomes thoughtful, respectful comments that add useful information or insights. Demeaning, hostile or propagandistic comments, and streams not related to the storyline, will be removed.

LSN commenting is not for frequent personal blogging, on-going debates or theological or other disputes between commenters.

Multiple comments from one person under a story are discouraged (suggested maximum of three). Capitalized sentences or comments will be removed (Internet shouting).

LifeSiteNews gives priority to pro-life, pro-family commenters and reserves the right to edit or remove comments.

Comments under LifeSiteNews stories do not necessarily represent the views of LifeSiteNews.

0 Comments

    Loading...