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Chilliwack school trustee rejects call for him to resign

Last Updated Jan 22, 2018 at 7:37 am PDT

FILE - The Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld. (Photo courtesy Barry Neufeld, via Facebook)

Education minister calls for Barry Neufeld to step down as school trustee but he refuses

Long-time school trustee won't resign amid controversial comments

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) – A controversial school trustee in Chilliwack is resisting calls for his resignation.

BC’s Education Minister, Rob Fleming, and the Chilliwack School Board are among those calling for Barry Neufeld to step aside.

“The hurtful and offensive words and actions of Chilliwack School Trustee Barry Neufeld continue to undermine this District and Ministry goal. While individuals are entitled to their opinions, Mr. Neufeld has jeopardized student safety, divided his school community, and acted against board and ministry policies,” said Fleming.

In a statement, the school trustee said he is “interested and invested in all students receiving an excellent education regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or other group identities.”

However, he takes issue with a piece of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program; teaching that gender is fluid, that there are more than two genders, and that gender is not based in biology.

He says he must stay on the board and continue to be a “lonely voice” protecting “impressionable children.”

Earlier this week, the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association said in a statement the board had passed a motion during a meeting on Thursday detailing its loss of confidence in “Neufeld’s ability to effectively perform the duties of a trustee.”

Last October in a Facebook post, Neufeld compared gender transitioning to child abuse, comments that were met with widespread criticism. He later apologized for his comments in a statement, saying he believes in a safe learning environment, but added that educational resources should be reviewed by parents and teachers before they’re implemented.

Neufeld has been a trustee for two decades.