Hu­man rights com­plaint filed against Neufeld

The Daily Courier - - CANADA -

VAN­COU­VER — A Chilli­wack school trustee is fac­ing a hu­man rights com­plaint for con­tro­ver­sial com­ments he has made about gen­der iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

The B.C. Teach­ers’ Fed­er­a­tion and Chilli­wack Teach­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion al­lege in their joint com­plaint that trustee Barry Neufeld’s state­ments and so­cial me­dia posts have been “dis­crim­i­na­tory,” and are likely to ex­pose trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als to ha­tred.

The com­plaint filed with the B.C. Hu­man Rights Tri­bunal al­leges that Neufeld neg­a­tively af­fected teach­ers’ work en­vi­ron­ments by call­ing those who sup­port trans­gen­der stu­dents “child abusers.”

It claims Neufeld has re­ferred to trans peo­ple as part of a “bi­o­log­i­cally ab­surd the­ory,” and that his state­ments paint trans peo­ple as “ill, delu­sional and sug­gests that there is a trans­gen­der agenda that will harm chil­dren.”

Reached by phone, Neufeld said he re­mains an ac­tive trustee and he refers all com­ments to his lawyer, who was not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

Much of Neufeld’s crit­i­cisms have cen­tred on an ed­u­ca­tional re­source aimed at sup­port­ing LGBTQ stu­dents in the dis­trict, which he called a “weapon of pro­pa­ganda” in the fall.

Neufeld later apol­o­gized for his com­ments, say­ing he be­lieves in a safe learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment but that ed­u­ca­tional resources should be re­viewed by par­ents and teach­ers be­fore they’re im­ple­mented.

In Jan­uary, he said in a state­ment that he must re­main on the Chilli­wack Board of Ed­u­ca­tion to pro­tect “im­pres­sion­able chil­dren.”

The board had passed a mo­tion ask­ing him to re­sign.

B.C. Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Rob Flem­ing has also called for Neufeld to step down, say­ing the trustee’s com­ments have un­der­mined the goals of the school board and the min­istry.

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