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.