Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld speaking against the B.C. education ministry’s SOGI program at a rally called by Culture Guard in Chilliwack. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)

School board refuses to host meeting after anti-SOGI trustee plans to attend

Chilliwack trustee Barry Neufeld outspoken opponent of SOGI

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board has declined to host a meeting of the Fraser Valley branch of the B.C. School Trustee Association because Chilliwack trustee Barry Neufeld intended to attend.

Neufeld has been asked to resign by the Chilliwack school board over his comments opposing the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum in the province.

He said at a board meeting Tuesday in Chilliwack that he had been looking forward to attending the Fraser Valley branch meeting, which was to be held Feb. 5 at Maple Ridge secondary.

But in a letter from School District No. 42 board chair Mike Murray, the board declined to host the meeting.

“Our decision on this is guided by Policy 9410: Safe, Caring and Healthy Schools, which outlines the Board’s commitment to providing safe, caring and socially responsible school environments, as well as educational opportunities such as SOGI,” Murray said in the letter to Shelley Carter, president of the Fraser Valley branch.

“This same policy also captures the expectation we outline for our school codes of conduct, which is that: ‘Any language (oral or written) or behavior that deliberately degrades, denigrates, labels, stereotypes or incites hatred, prejudice, discrimination or harassment towards students or employees on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated.’

“Given that Trustee Barry Neufeld, who has indicated his intent to attend this meeting, has publicly expressed views that contravene our longstanding policy and stated values, we must unfortunately decline to host this event at one of our schools.

“While we regret putting the branch in the very awkward position of having to consider postponing its meeting, we do feel the need to stand strongly by our stated values. Otherwise, they have no meaning.”

The meeting has been rescheduled and will now be held in Abbotsford.

“I’m disappointed that I have such a negative reputation that even other school boards are scared of me, but I intend to press on, for the sake of students and for the safety of children,” Neufeld said at the Chilliwack board meeting.

Neufeld later said in a phone interview that his board pays $60,000 to be a member of the BCSTA, and he has a right to attend its meetings, and board trustees and administrators were generally planning to attend the event in Maple Ridge.

Neufeld said opposing the SOGI curriculum is about freedom of speech, and a parent’s right to contest materials being brought into the classroom.

The B.C. School Trustees Association issued a statement on Jan. 19 supporting the Chilliwack school board calling for the resignation of Neufeld.

“As trustees, we take an oath [to] ‘not allow any private interest to influence my conduct in public matters’ and it is imperative that a public school trustee represent and protect the safety of all students,” said the BCSTA statement.

“When one allows personal beliefs to infringe on their ability to do so, and when those beliefs conflict with the policies of the board that they represent along with the laws that govern the province, there are consequences. In this case, it has resulted in a loss of confidence from the Chilliwack Board of Education and the Minister of Education in the trustee’s ability to adequately fulfill the duties of office that he was elected to perform.”

Neufeld said he is not sure whether he will attend the meeting in Abbotsford.

“I don’t want to rock the boat any more than it’s already rocking.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley Trappers lose to Wolf Pack in PJHL final

North Vancouver makes it four in a row

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

LETTER: Fort Langley driver lobbies for roundabout signalling

ICBC rules call for drivers to signal when exiting roundabouts.

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.

VIDEO: Stolen Bentley seen driving wrong way in viral video has been recovered

Dash cam captured coupe nearly colliding with oncoming traffic

WATCH: Out and about in Langley

March 23 to 25; your guide to community happenings.

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

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Most Read