About 350 people showed up for a rally outside the Chilliwack School Board office on Tuesday night, to show their support for LGBTQ students, teachers, staff and parents. Meanwhile, inside the board office, Trustee Barry Neufeld was announcing he is stepping back from some of this duties, but not all of them. (Greg Laychak/ The Progress)

About 350 people showed up for a rally outside the Chilliwack School Board office on Tuesday night, to show their support for LGBTQ students, teachers, staff and parents. Meanwhile, inside the board office, Trustee Barry Neufeld was announcing he is stepping back from some of this duties, but not all of them. (Greg Laychak/ The Progress)

Neufeld announces stepping back from some duties

Chilliwack trustee makes announcement at board meeting Tuesday, as hundreds rally outside building

Jessica Peters

The Progress

Chilliwack School Trustee Barry Neufeld announced Tuesday he will be voluntarily stepping back from some of his duties, following his controversial statements regarding a new teachers’ resource.

The resource, SOGI 123, educates teachers on how to address LGBTQ2+ issues in the classroom. It includes a glossary of different gender identities, and provides age-appropriate lesson plans for Kindergarten through Grade 12. It is approved by the Ministry of Education, and conforms to the new B.C. curriculum.

The news that Neufeld will quit his committee work came out of a question period at the beginning of this week’s board. At the same time, a rally of about 350 people to support teachers and students carried on outside the board office, with horns honking, rainbow and BCTF flags waving, and First Nation drumming.

Clint Johnston, 2nd VP for the BC Teachers’ Federation and former president of the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA), asked the board what they intend to do “when you have a member of your board actively working contrary” to the board. Neufeld spoke at Christian-based, right wing rally last week against SOGI 123, and has stated that those who support children who are transitioning are committing child abuse.

“To have one person who is my employer stating that, should I teach SOGI in my classroom, I’m a child abuser, I think that crosses all sorts of lines,” Johnston said. “I don’t really understand why it hasn’t been addressed by the board, and in my opinion even higher powers than the board.”

Board chair Paul McManus said the board’s “commitment to you is to move forward.”

Neufeld then said he would like to respond.

“Because I put the board in an awkward situation, I have voluntarily withdrawn from any committee involvement and liaison schools for the balance of the term — which is about 10 months I believe,” he said.

He was asked later in the meeting, during the second question period, what he would be doing as a paid trustee during that time. Parent Mallory Tomlinson said her children have been directly affected by Neufeld’s statements. She also asked if he would run again, to which he stated he would.

He also dialed back previous statements against SOGI 123.

“I believe that there are many good parts in the SOGI agenda but I think there needs to be some work done on it to make it acceptable to all members of our community,” he said. “The one thing that I’m really concerned about is if we implement this program, is that all parents, not just activist parents, are not just aware of it but part of it.”

Neufeld said his job will consist of “the usual trustee activities, however I will have a bit more time now to do research into the agenda items that come up for the regular board meeting.”

He was on the scholarship committee and the education policy advisory committee. He will also not be attending the BC Provincial Council in February. His liaison schools were Evans Greendale and Sardis Elementary, A.D. Rundle middle and Sardis secondary.

The rally that was taking place outside the board office on Tuesday night was a pro-LGBTQ rally, and pro SOGI. It was a large group of about 350 parents, students, teachers, staff and community members, holding large rainbow flags, handmade and printed posters, with slogans like “Hate Cannot Educate” and “Christians Support LGBT Kids.”

The rain held off for the rally, which lasted almost four hours. A few people from the rally came inside to take in the board meeting. Throughout the meeting, honking cars and cheering could be heard. Joining the rally participants was Vancouver’s Morgane Oger, a transgender advocate and the B.C. NDP’s vice-president. She approached Neufeld prior to the meeting and reminded him that she’s offered up a phone call to talk about transgender issues — an offer he has not yet taken up.

He has also not yet responded to requests from The Progress to discuss his views.

 

Neufeld announces stepping back from some duties

Neufeld announces stepping back from some duties

Just Posted

Sergeant Mike Sanchez of the Surrey Gang Enforcement Team speaking with students. (Photo: RCMP).
Surrey RCMP’s anti-gang program goes virtual amid COVID-19 pandemic

Presentations aimed at youth available to be booked

(Clockwise, from top-left) Brenda DeJong, Carol Jones, Marcia Strang, Cathy Collis and Mark East star in the upcoming Sidekick Players Zoom presentation of the Norm Foster play “Halfway There,” directed by Carroll Lefebvre, on May 22, 2021. (Submitted photos)
Delta’s Sidekick Players continue ‘Foster Zoom Fest’ with ‘Halfway There’

Tsawwassen-based theatre company hosting another online performance on Saturday, May 22

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Discussions about Surrey-owned land in Langley should be behind closed doors, councillors say

That’s what Councillors Brenda Locke, Jack Hundial and former Surrey mayor Bob Bose say

White Rock RCMP, January 2021. (Tracy Holmes photo)
UPDATE: White Rock RCMP investigate ‘person-involved’ collision

Youth injured in May 13 incident was longboarding at time, police say

Mike Farnworth, pre-pandemic. (File photo)
Surrey Police recruitment not distracting cops from shootings, Farnworth says

‘That’s simply not the case,’ Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told the Now-Leader on Friday

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his ‘Community Connections’ videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Doug Stone

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read