BC Education Minister Rob Fleming. (Photo: Taran Parmar, Roundhouse Radio.)

BC Education Minister Rob Fleming. (Photo: Taran Parmar, Roundhouse Radio.)

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

The Minister of Education has spoken out against the actions of a Chilliwack school trustee who has aligned himself with Culture Guard.

Trustee Barry Neufeld was a highlighted speaker and honoured guest at a Culture Guard meeting on Tuesday night. Culture Guard and Neufeld are both against the use of a Ministry of Education approved teaching resource called SOGI 123.

“As Minister of Education, a father of two school-aged children and a public school student in the 1980s – when LGBTQ students were not at all supported and were actively targeted for widespread bullying – I can say unequivocally that our province will keep moving forward. There is no turning back,” Minister of Education Rob Fleming said in a statement emailed to The Chilliwack Progress on Wednesday.

“It’s disturbing that Chilliwack School District Trustee Barry Neufeld attended and spoke at the hateful event held last evening by “Culture Guard”. Clearly the apology in October was not sincere. Elected trustees are supposed to advocate for students not hurt them. In the same week that the Prime Minister of Canada announced an apology is coming for decades of discrimination and persecution of the LGBTQ community – Mr. Neufeld and ‘Culture Guard’ was spreading the same bigoted views that are part of Canada’s painful past.”

Fleming added that children will be affected by Neufeld’s stance against inclusion.

“This sort of shameful behaviour can and will lead to suicide and this is unacceptable,” he said. “As a society we cannot allow discrimination against people for who they identify as or choose to love. I applaud hundreds of parents, students and members of the community who rallied in support of SOGI and to stand up for inclusivity in our schools. It is crucial that we help to ensure all students feel welcome in BC Schools, regardless of who they choose to love or who they identify as.”

Calls for resignation

Another Chilliwack school trustee, Dan Coulter, called for Neufeld’s resignation on Wednesday.

“It is with sadness and disappointment that I must call for the resignation of Trustee Barry Neufeld from the Chilliwack Board of Education.

As Trustees responsible for the wellbeing and safety of all students in our district, we are tasked with fostering a safe and inclusive environment where all students feel like they belong. This work requires us to be able to leave any prejudices at the door. Barry Neufeld is no longer capable of that.

Words and actions matter. As Trustees, we must understand the impact of our actions before we take them. Trustee Neufeld has proved repeatedly that he cannot do this and is unable to move past his own narrow worldview. Time and again Trustee Neufeld has referred to transgender people as “mentally ill”, and said that allowing students to talk about gender is “child abuse” and “biologically absurd”. He has lamented that opposition to his views means that he “belongs in a country like Russia, or Paraguay, which recently had the guts to stand up to these radical cultural nihilists.”

“Last night he attended a rally against implementation of the SOGI curriculum by the Chilliwack school district. As he has before, he made disparaging comments about the program, calling it “an indoctrination” and that he plans to run next year on a campaign opposing it.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity are specifically protected under British Columbia’s Human Rights Code. If we don’t respect the human rights of all our students, they mean nothing. Barry Neufeld was my friend, but I regret that the time has come for him to resign as a Trustee with the Chilliwack School District.”

The Progress attended the Culture Guard rally on Tuesday night, tweeting out videos and information as the rally carried on.

READ: Chilliwack school trustee says he will run on ‘gender-positive’ platform next year

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

Just Posted

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Revelstoke-based potter Kaisa Lindfors presents <em>How to Feel Full: An Exploration of Drawing and Journaling on Clay</em> at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts Studio and Gallery from Dec. 3 to 17. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Artist combines ceramics and journaling in first Nanaimo exhibition

Revelstoke’s Kaisa Lindfors presents ‘How to Feel Full’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Two drivers were taken to hospital with unknown injuries after a hatchback and a convertible collided on the old Island Highway at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Drivers taken to hospital after T-bone crash on the old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Convertible and hatchback collided at Oliver Road on Saturday afternoon, impacting traffic

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement forecasting windy weather Sunday and Monday. (News Bulletin file photo)
More windy weather on the way for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issues special weather statement for Victoria, east coast of Island, north Island

Local poet and VIU professor Sonnet L’Abbé wrote and performed a song as part of the city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign. (Photo courtesy City of Nanaimo/Port Theatre)
Poet pens song as part of city’s Reimagine Nanaimo campaign

Sonnet L’Abbé encourages a friend to move to the city in ‘Nazaneen: A Song for Nanaimo’

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

A small crash in the water south of Courtenay Saturday afternoon. Two men had to be rescued, but reports indicate there were no serious injuries. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Small plane crash in Comox Valley waters Saturday afternoon

Two rescued from plane that had flipped in water; no serious injuries reported

A rendering of a restaurant building making up part of a development permit application for 113 and 161 Island Highway in Parksville. (IAG Developments image)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers restaurant/RV campground application to staff for further improvements

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board approved a recommendation for Franklyn Street gym demolition. Pictured here, Nanaimo Fire Rescue staff on scene after a gym fire in October 2018. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees decide to demolish Franklyn Street gym

SD68 board votes to demolish heritage building, damaged by fire in October 2018

Most Read