British Columbia

Controversial Chilliwack school trustee facing human rights complaint from BCTF

The B.C. Teacher's Federation has filed a human rights complaint against a Chilliwack School Board trustee whose made controversial comments about the provincial gender identity and sexual orientation curriculum.

BCTF president says the school trustee 'ought to know better'

Chilliwack trustree Barry Neufeld took to Facebook Monday to denounce B.C.'s gender education. (Chilliwack School District)

The president of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation says a Chilliwack school trustee who has made controversial LGBT comments shouldn't be "anywhere near students" and that's why the BCTF has filed a human rights complaint against him.

The complaint says that Barry Neufeld's alleged "hateful" public comments about trans people have created an unsafe work environment for teachers and students, as the province moves to make students of all orientations feel safer in schools.

The BCTF is the second union to file a complaint against the trustee after his public social media posts targeted transgender issues.

Neufeld denies the allegations in the complaint which alleges he's exposing trans people to "hatred." The complaint asks he be forced to pay a sum to a non-profit LGBT youth group to make amends.

Programs being introduced into B.C. schools teach children about the importance of LGBT inclusion and diverse families. (Canadian Press)

In the past, the trustee's comments and opinions about sexual orientation and gender identity taught in school have sparked outrage and opposition from Education Minister Rob Fleming and other trustees.

Despite calls for his resignation, he has not stepped down.

Reached on social media today, Neufeld referred CBC to his lawyer but did defend Russia's handling of LGBT issues.

"Russia was one of the first European countries to extend Human Rights to homosexuals. But they placed a boundary on it. They must not try to influence children," wrote Neufeld, adding that a friend who lives in Russia near Moscow tells him that "stories of gay bashing in Russia are Western propaganda: fake news."

Neufeld has agreed not to go into any schools until the matter is resolved.

Hansman says the law is well established and clear and Neufeld should know better.

"Schools are not, nor have they been the world's most awesomest places for LGBTQ youth. It is still not, in 2018, necessarily safe for someone to come out at school and that's probably doubly so for someone who is trans."

Barry Newfeld's career as Chilliwack school board trustee has been plagued by controversy in the wake of of his public comments about LGBT issues. (Barry Neufeld/Facebook)