VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) — The Chilliwack Teacher’s Association (CTA) has filed a motion of non-confidence against the Chilliwack Board of Education, after controversial comments made by trustee Barry Neufeld about the province’s gender identity and sexual orientation curriculum.
The CTA made the move after their regular meeting Tuesday night, saying there is a concern for the emotional and physical safety of students, staff and teachers following Neufeld’s behavior.
Neufeld came under fire in October when he compared gender transitioning to child abuse; He’s also called gender confusion a ‘sexual addiction.’
CTA President Lee-Ann Clarke says the association takes issue with Neufeld’s comments, but they’re also disappointed in the lack of action taken by the Chilliwack Board of Education.
“I think at the very least there could be a motion of censure about this, or a strong statement of support for teachers who are doing the work that the ministry asks them to do, which is to provide safe, inclusive, accepting classrooms,” says Clarke.
She says by failing to act, the board has allowed a toxic environment to spread across the school district.
“The lack of a strong response from our school board has meant that these schools aren’t safe for everyone anymore,” says Clarke.
The CTA is now calling on the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, to intervene in the matter.
When asked about future action taken against the board or Mr. Neufeld, Clarke says that decision will be up to the members of the teacher’s association.
The CTA is not the first group to speak out against trustee Neufeld; CUPE Local 411, the union representing non-teaching staff in schools, have filed a human rights complaint because of his comments.
They’ve asked the board to donate $50,000 to LGBTQ Youth advocacy.
Calls to Mr. Neufeld have not been returned.