An Anglophone high schooler has been granted an exemption from Quebec’s language laws after initially being forced to leave his English-language school in Montreal.

Alois Orozco, the 16-year-old Grade 11 honour roll student, had missed the first three weeks of class at Royal West Academy in Montreal because of Bill 101, the Charter of the French Language. As a way of preserving Quebec’s francophone culture, the bill states that immigrants to Quebec -- as well as Canadians whose parents were educated in French -- must attend French schools. When Orozco and his family came to Canada from Ecuador in 2010, they were on his mother’s study permit as she began her PhD in Montreal, which meant they were eligible to attend English schools.

But when the family was granted permanent resident status in June, Orozco and his two siblings were told they would have to switch to French schools.

“I feel like that would just mess me up completely. My grades would definitely drop,” he said Thursday before the decision. “I would miss out on prom, I would miss out on my graduation with all my friends.”

While the teen waited for a decision on his case, administrators at Royal West Academy held a spot for him in Grade 11. He has been working as a baseball umpire, hopeful that he wouldn’t need to switch to the French system.

In June, his parents applied to the Ministry of Education for an exemption from Bill 101 on humanitarian grounds so he could graduate from Royal West Academy where he has been since Grade 7. There is an independent process for determining if a student is admissible to English schools on humanitarian grounds. Late Thursday afternoon, Orozco and family were given the good news that he could go back to school Friday.

With a report from CTV Montreal’s Cindy Sherwin