CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) – The BC Teachers’ Federation has launched a human rights complaint against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld, who has been vocal about his opposition to anti-bullying resources made available to BC teachers.
The complaint is also backed by the Chilliwack Teachers Association.
Neufeld came under fire after posting critical comments about the Ministry of Education’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) resource last fall.
BCTF President Glen Hansman says the trustee “tip toed quite far into hate speech” and sent a disturbing message to both students and parents.
Hansman says school trustees and boards of education are responsible for ensuring student safety, and he believes that’s something Neufeld failed to do.
“Whether it’s a transphobic comment, or a racist one or a misogynistic one, that simply cannot stand because public schools welcome all students, regardless of their race, their culture, their sexual orientation or their gender identity.”
Had Neufeld been a teacher, Hansman says the situation would have been handled differently.
“The difference in this situation is that it’s a public official. He has been elected. He’s making statements similar to cases the tribunal has heard before so we feel it’s really important to pursue this.”
He hopes Neufeld is forced to pay a fine. “We’d like the money go towards any organization that supports trans-youth.”
Hansman also hopes the tribunal will clarify rules around how trustees are disciplined.
Neufeld has described the SOGI program as a “weapon of propaganda” pushed by the “LGBTQ lobby.”
The complaint against Neufeld was filed at the tribunal back in January.