Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld speaking against the B.C. Education Ministry’s SOGI 123 program at a rally called by Culture Guard in Chilliwack in November. (Jessica Peters/Progress file)

Union files human rights complaint over Chilliwack school trustee’s LGBTQ comments

Board and trustee Barry Neufeld facing $50,000 tribunal charge over alleged ‘unsafe work environment’

The union that represents Chilliwack school support workers, custodians, transportation staff and others has filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal.

The complaint, by CUPE 411, is against school trustee Barry Neufeld and the Chilliwack School Board. Back in November, Neufeld began a series of public comments airing his beliefs about transgender policies, gender theories, and family values, in light of the province adopting new teaching resources to address sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.

His attitudes, expressed online, in board meetings and in spoken public forums, created “an unsafe work environment for CUPE members and other Board employees” the HRT complaint states, as confirmed by board chair Paul McManus.

The complaint asks for a declatory order that the board has breached the Human Rights Code, and that all trustees and senior management take part in training on LGBTQ equality rights, and on protecting LGBTQ students in schools.

They are also seeking an order to direct the board to enforce their own policy to adopt a motion of censure. In addition, they are asking that a fee of $50,000 in compensation for “injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect” be paid on behalf of affected employee to a non-profit group that advocates for LGBTQ youth.

The board recieved notice of the complaint on Monday afternoon (Jan. 15), confirmed McManus.

“There’s not a whole lot we can talk about at this point,” he said. “We’ve had to forward it onto legal for advice.”

McManus added that the whole discussion has overshadowed all of the other work the board has had at its table over the past few months, including a massive plan to reconfigure school grades.

“We keep trying to move forward with the other business of the board with all of this in the background,” he said. “But we keep constantly breaking out in these conversations.”

While he says that the conversation around SOGI and inclusion are important, there are certain things people want that the board just can’t do. There are people who oppose Neufeld who want him fired by the board, which is not legally possible, McManus said. On the other hand there are Neufeld supporters who believe schools are involved with gender reassignment surgeries and puberty blockers, which also isn’t factual, he added.

“This all stems from these personal opinions Barry’s thrown out there and we have to deal with as a board because of who he has aligned himself with,” McManus said. In November, Neufeld spoke as a special guest at a Culture Guard rally in Chilliwack. He has also sent out a mass email to his supporters to ask them to email the District Parent Advisory Council chair, Justine Hodge, after the DPAC called for his resignation. He asked his supporters to “challenge her opinions” and suggested Hodge would be running against him in the school board elections in October.

Hodge has never stated an intention to run for school board, and the provincial confederation of PACs has written to support the Chilliwack DPAC’s actions.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Langley golfer Erin Lee wins major Pitt Meadows tournament

Maple Leaf Junior Golf Tour (MJT) gets underway at Swan-e-Set Bay Resort

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

South Langley community group wants to talk innovative housing

Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association invites people to a meeting about the future of housing.

GREEN BEAT: Opening ‘new roads’ in Langley makes cycling safer

HUB Langley pushed to ‘UnGap the Map’ and create more bike infrastructure throughout the community.

Langley Then and Now: A different view of Aldergrove

Check out the photo of Flag Day from 1926.

WATCH: Out and about in Langley

March 23 to 25; your guide to community happenings.

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Trudeau in Vancouver to support Tamara Taggart at Liberal nomination event

The former broadcaster is seeking the nomination for the Vancouver Kingsway riding

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Most Read