Barry Neufeld issued an apology Wednesday morning, following an emergency meeting of the board on Tuesday night to discuss his views on SOGI.

Barry Neufeld issued an apology Wednesday morning, following an emergency meeting of the board on Tuesday night to discuss his views on SOGI.

Chilliwack trustee issues apology for Facebook comments

Neufeld says he does believe in inclusion, while board further distances themselves from his opinions

Embattled Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has issued an apology for comments he made on Monday.

The apology came on Wednesday morning, after an emergency, in-camera meeting of the board on Tuesday evening, and was sent to the district’s trustees, superintendents, secretary-treasurer and members of the media, including The Chilliwack Progress.

He wrote:

“My post on Facebook has created a lot of controversy and first of all, I want to apologize to those who felt hurt by my opinion, including members of the Chilliwack Board of Education. I am critical of an educational resource, not individuals. Those who have worked with me for over 24 years know that I DO believe in inclusion and a safe learning environment for all of our students: that they should be protected from all forms of bullying and intimidation.

I believe that in a free and democratic society, there should be room for respectful discussion and dissent. I firmly believe that implementation of the SOGI 1 2 3 resources needs to be reviewed by engaging parents and teachers in conversation on this topic before full implementation.”

Board chair Paul McManus confirmed that the Tuesday evening meeting was meant to come to a consensus on how to move forward after Neufeld announced his strong opposition to what he’s called “child abuse.”

A Chilliwack school trustee for about 20 years in School District 33, Neufeld posted on Facebook that he would rather live in Russia or Paraguay, “which recently had the guts to stand up to these radical cultural nihilists.”

He was referring to the policy known as SOGI, or sexual orientation and gender identity. He cited a group known for being against the rights of the gay community, the American College of Pediatrics, posted an internet meme making fun of gender identity, and blamed the Liberal government for creating “a weapon of propaganda” and embracing “the LGBTQ lobby and … forcing this biologically absurd theory on children in our schools.”

The comments elicited strong reactions, both from his supporters and those who oppose his ideas. The District and the Board both distanced themselves from Neufeld on Tuesday, as did the BC School Trustee’s Association, and the District Parent Advisory Council.

READ: Chilliwack trustee calls LGBTQ school program ‘weapon of propaganda’

President of the Chilliwack Teacher’s Association (CTA), Lee-Anne Clarke, said that Neufeld’s public statement was an attack on teachers.

“It’s very hurtful,” she said. “It’s hurtful to our LGBTQ community, it’s hurtful to our teachers, some of them who are part of the LGBTQ community. And this undermines the professionalism of my members. It undervalues all the work we’ve done to make things better for everyone, to make school more safe for everyone, to make it more inclusive and to be more accepting of differences.”

Also on Wednesday, Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness spoke in support of Neufeld, through Twitter.

“Trustee Barry Neufeld is a good man, loves children, would never countenance bullying. He deserves to be treated with respect and kindness,” he wrote.

Following Neufeld’s apology letter, the board issued an official statement.

“The comments of Trustee Barry Neufeld on his Facebook page were his own personal opinions and do not reflect the views of the Chilliwack Board of Education,” they wrote.

“The Board of Education strongly believes that its schools need to be safe and welcoming places for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or background, and that all students deserve to be welcomed, included and respected in a safe learning environment while being fully and completely themselves.

“In October 2016, the Board of Education approved changes to its Safe Schools Policy ensuring that the legislative requirements with reference to the BC Charter of Human Rights and Freedom and the BC Human Rights Code are followed, so that all students are supported in their learning in inclusive environments, free of bullying and harassment.”

The letter was signed by Paul McManus, Board of Education Chairperson.

Media Release October 2017 by Jess Peters on Scribd


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Chilliwack trustee issues apology for Facebook comments

Just Posted

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Cops for Kids riders will be spinning 30 feet in the air on scissor lifts at SaveOn Foods locations in Kelowna, Lake Country and West Kelowna Saturday, May 8, 2021. (File photo)
Cops reach new heights for Okanagan kids

Nor-Val Rentals is doing the heavy lifting Saturday in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Kelowna OK Tire closed due to COVID-19 exposure

The business will remain closed until May 11

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Coronavirus 3D illustration. (CDC photo)
Two South Okanagan businesses closed due to COVID-19

The businesses are listed on the Interior Health website

Most Read