Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld’s Facebook post from May 9, 2020. (Facebook)

Controversial Chilliwack school trustee offers public apology for anti-LGBTQ Facebook post

Board member Barry Neufeld said he ‘deeply regrets’ post about WHO and Dr. Theresa Tam

Days after reaction to an anti-transgender, conspiracy-theory post by Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld grew louder, the controversial board member issued a brief public apology.

On Saturday evening (May 9), Neufeld posted a video to his Facebook page of a satirical comic, along with his own jabs at the World Health Organization and Dr. Theresa Tam. It quickly made national news, as people shared an image of the post around social media channels.

READ MORE: Widespread criticism for Chilliwack school trustee’s COVID-19 conspiracy theory rant

Neufeld spoke at the May 12 school board meeting held via Zoom about his Facebook post that was taken down soon after the criticism emerged.

“I deeply regret and apologize for my comments on social media,” Neufeld said. “I will be addressing them more in the near future.”

The post suggested that Dr. Tam, who is Canada’s chief public health officer and is leading the charge against the novel coronavirus, is actually transgender. Further to that, Neufeld suggested that she shouldn’t be trusted because of it.

“If this person, who has spent a major portion of their life deceiving people as to who she/he truly is and is now a major player in the corrupt World Health Organization, why should we believe anything he/she says?” the post read in part.

By Monday (May 11), a petition was created by 15-year-old Sardis secondary student Sophie Jones on change.org called Remove Barry Neufeld from Chilliwack School District. By May 13 at 4:30 p.m. it had more than 6,600 signatures. While the Ministry of Education cannot remove a single trustee, many of those signing have said it makes a statement from the public.

“This person is elected to serve and represent every student in the school district. When a person chooses to only serve some, at the expensive of the many, he has simply abdicated his responsibility and is not doing his job,” one comment said.

But his post, which was covered in virtually all media over the weekend, also moved others to instead let the world know that Chilliwack is not to be defined by one set of views.

Someone created the social media hashtag #ThisIsMyChilliwack to be used to share positive stories and images, in an attempt to counter the negative news coverage. It caught on quickly with educators.

• READ MORE: New hashtag created to counter Chilliwack school trustee’s anti-LGBTQ post

The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association, which currently has a Human Rights Tribunal complaint against Neufeld, was leading the charge in the positivity campaign.

“Chilliwack teachers do amazing work every day. We love our community. Use #ThisIsMyChilliwack and #bced to show what we are all about. Share what you are doing that demonstrates respect, inclusivity, and positivity in Chilliwack.”

The BC Teachers’ Federation also tweeted out about Chilliwack using the hashtag.

“The community is so much better than the impression one trustee leaves with his hurtful views,” the union stated.

The hashtag has prompted teachers, parents, staff and even former staff to chime in with their best moments of caring and inclusion through school settings in Chilliwack.

The CTA has also called on Education Minister Rob Fleming to appoint a special investigator to review the Chilliwack Board of Education.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack teachers call on education minister to investigate school board

How Neufeld plans to address his social media comments “in the near future” is unclear. He has not responded to repeated requests for comment.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Chilliwack School District

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

 

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld at the board’s last meeting before the Oct. 20, 2018 election. (Paul Henderson/ Black Press file)

Just Posted

Education minister announces new South Surrey elementary school

Additions at two elementary schools also announced

Liquor permission considered for White Rock’s Memorial Park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Delta council approves plan to reopen city facilities

Next phase of plan includes outdoor pools, summer day camps, outdoor fitness programs

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

No need to get out of your car at food truck festival in Abbotsford and Langley

Annual event takes drive-thru approach during COVID-19 pandemic

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read

l -->