Chilliwack – The Chilliwack School Board has called for the resignation of controversial School Trustee Barry Neufeld over his stance on the LGBTQ community as well as anti SOGI postings to social media.
While this transpired on Friday, BC’s Education Minister Rob Fleming formally requested Neufeld’s resignation.
Flemming said “All students deserve to be welcomed, included and respected in a safe learning environment no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
So far, Neufeld has remained defiant. He has not resigned and made his intention clear that he will run for re-election in the October Municipal Election.
After this past Tuesday’s protests in front of the School Board office prior to the first meeting of 2018, Board Chair Paul McManus was asked if any action was going to be taken. At that time he said that he could not comment as the matter was before their legal council.
In a media memo from Evelyn Novak, Superintendent of Schools:
The Chilliwack Board of Education passed a motion during an In-Camera Meeting on January 18, 2018 requesting the resignation of Trustee Barry Neufeld because of a loss in confidence, by Partners in Learning and the Board of Education, in Trustee Neufeld’s ability to effectively perform the duties of a Trustee.
Trustee Neufeld has publicly expressed strong opinions in opposition to the changes in the BC Human Rights Code that was expanded to include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, as well as initiatives around the provincial curriculum that include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity topics. Trustee Neufeld’s public statements have led partner groups to contact the Board of Education expressing concerns for his public actions that demonstrate intolerance, are contrary to the BC Human Rights Code and contrary to the views of the Board of Education. The Board has received many letters, including from the Chilliwack School District Parent Advisory Council, the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association, CUPE, BCGEU, the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils and the Fraser Valley Labour Council denouncing Trustee Neufeld’s controversial comments, expressing loss of confidence in Trustee Neufeld and calling for his resignation.
Barry Neufeld stated that he intends to continue his tenure as Trustee.
The Board supports all students regardless of gender identity, race, religion or background, and will continue to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students in Chilliwack schools.
The Board of Education is looking forward to refocusing on its work in supporting improving student achievement, improving the quality of teaching and learning, the provision of safe and
caring schools, and making these the focus of Board of Education meetings.
On January 16, 2018 the Board of Education shared a message in support of students, staff and SOGI 123 at the Regular Meeting of the Board.