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

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Victoria firefighters were already extinguishing the fire when police arrived on scene

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

Lansdowne Middle School.
(Black Press Media File Photo)
Walkers ascend Mount Douglas Park on Sunday, Feb. 7. Visits to Saanich Parks are up 46 per cent compared to pre-pandemic statistics this time last year. (Darrell Wick Photo)
Oak Bay, Saanich parks peak in popularity during pandemic

Oak Bay spent an extra $5,000 on park toilet paper in 2020

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

(Government of B.C.)
Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Vancouver Island RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

Most Read