British Columbia

Calls for Chilliwack school trustee to resign following Facebook rant on school gender policies

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld is facing calls to resign after posting negative online comments regarding B.C.'s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program (SOGI)

Education minister has no plans to remove Barry Neufeld from position

School trustee Barry Neufeld set off a firestorm of controversy after posting a Facebook message that called B.C. educators 'radical cultural nihilists' for gender policies in schools. (Chilliwack School Board)

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld is facing calls to resign after posting negative online comments regarding the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity program (SOGI) in B.C. schools.

Neufeld set off a firestorm of controversy after posting Monday on Facebook that he would risk being labelled a "bigoted homophobe" for his opinion that allowing children to change gender was "nothing short of child abuse," 

When asked during an interview with The Early Edition host Rick Cluff whether Neufeld should resign, Colin McKenna, the president of PFLAG (Parents and Family and Friends of LGBTQ) said: "Yes, immediately."

Former Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus also called for Neufeld's resignation on Twitter Monday, shortly after Neufeld's posted his comments.

When CBC reached Neufeld for comment, he refused an interview without first being provided a list of questions. He did say he had deactivated his Facebook account after being harassed.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said that while he disagreed with Neufeld's views, there were no plans to remove him from his position.

"He's unfortunately not a role model in the school system on this issue ... maybe one day he'll come around and realize that in order to remove fear and intimidation and a bullying culture in our school system, SOGI 123 is essential."

In a statement, the president of The British Columbia School Trustees Association (BCSTA) said the BCSTA does not support Neufeld's position.

"Our association strongly believes that schools need to be safe and welcoming places for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or background," wrote Gordon Swan.

"It is important that we all stand up and defend our students and our staff against any incidents of prejudice, bullying or discrimination." 

In the Facebook post, Neufeld denounced members of B.C.'s education system as "radical cultural nihilists" for their policies on gender rights and education — and said he no longer wants any part of that system.

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