In the initial question period of the Jan. 15 Chilliwack School Board meeting, Jenn Smith—who’s from Abbotsford—tried and failed to convince the Board to allow him to make a presentation on behalf of an anti-SOGI delegation he supports. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

Anti-SOGI advocate says he’s filed a B.C. Ombudsperson’s complaint against Chilliwack School Board

Jenn Smith says he’s filed a complaint against four trustees and acting superintendent of SD33

An anti-SOGI 123 advocate from Abbotsford has filed a complaint with the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson against four Chilliwack School Board trustees and the school district’s acting superintendent.

“I just came back from Burnaby where I have filed an official complaint with the BC Ombudsperson’s Office against … Dan Coulter, Willow Reichelt, Jared Mumford, David Swankey, and Rohan Arul-Pragasam,” wrote Jenn Smith on his blog on Monday.

Smith, who says he represents a delegation of like-minded individuals, has repeatedly asked the Board for permission to present a talk he believes directly “pertains to the health and safety of the children of Chilliwack,” only to be denied every time.

READ MORE: Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld says he’s the victim of workplace discrimination

“I have yet, in my opinion, to receive a satisfactory answer as to why the delegation that I represent is continually refused the right to present to this Board,” said Smith at the Jan. 15, 2019 Chilliwack School Board meeting.

“The reason we have not accepted your delegation to the Board is that we’ve (been having) this anti-SOGI, or SOGI, debate” for quite some time now,” said Dan Coulter, Board chair. “I’ve seen your presentation before and it’s really nothing new to what we’ve been doing for the last year and a bit.”

But Smith says Coulter is being less than honest in his political practices: “Our complaint cites evidence of a deliberate political and identity-based bias, and that the majority members of the Board are violating their own policies.

“I can provide evidence that Chairman Dan Coulter has lied in an official communication, and that the majority are deliberately excluding input from a large concerned portion of the community,” he wrote on his blog.

“I have told the BC Ombudsperson’s Office that sensible School Boards like Abbotsford have allowed dissenting voices to be heard … whereas the Chilliwack’s Board’s quasi-dictatorship has chosen instead to silence opposing views and thus deliberately foster animosity in the community.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack School District graduating more students than ever before

“I haven’t seen the complaint, but I’ve heard about it,” said Coulter to The Progress during a telephone interview. But “I’m sure the Ombudsperson is a fair person, and if they decide there are certain things we need to change, we’ll change them.”

That said, Coulter says the Board hasn’t received any new written submissions from Smith or the delegation he claims to represent. “But if it’s the same subject matter that the (delegation has taken) to other school boards … the better place for Jenn Smith to take his concerns is to the Ministry of Education … as they have a process in place for challenging resources (such as SOGI 123).”

The Office of the Ombudsperson investigates complaints regarding B.C.’s public services, which includes local school districts. Each year, the Ombudsperson receives approximately 7,500 questions/complaints from the public that result in 2,000 investigations and resolutions.

For more information about the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson, please visit their website at BCOmbudsperson.ca. For more information about the Chilliwack School District and its Board, please visit its website at SD33.bc.ca.


 

@SarahGawdin on Twitter
SarahGawdin on Instagram
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

WorkBC Chilliwack officially opens doors to its new location

The local centre opened in April and since then hundreds of clients transitioned to employment

OPINION: A brief look at the present and past of Chilliwack federal elections

For those who are new to town, or just haven’t been paying attention

Missing man last seen in Chilliwack Sept. 7

Friends concerned for well-being of 44-year-old Jean Pierre Baril

Chilliwack school board to vote on whether to paint rainbow crosswalk at district office

Scheduled vote at Sept. 17 meeting comes two weeks after city hall said ‘no’ to the idea

VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Mars and Jupiter at the Chilliwack SPCA

These two very social guinea pigs are up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA

Vancouver’s Tristan Connelly shocks the UFC world

Late replacement upsets big favourite Pereira, main event sees Gaethje stop Cerrone in round one

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

Most Read