Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

CUPE and Chilliwack School Board settle human rights complaint, Neufeld cases still ongoing

Complaint stems from anti-LGBTQ comments made by trustee Barry Neufeld

The Chilliwack School Board has settled a human rights complaint with one of its employee unions.

CUPE 411, which represents Chilliwack school support workers, custodians, transportation staff and others filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal in January 2018.

The complaint was against both school trustee Barry Neufeld and the Chilliwack School Board, following a series of public comments by Neufeld. He had shared his beliefs about transgender policies, gender theories, and family values, in light of the province adopting new teaching resources to address sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.

His attitudes, expressed online, in board meetings and in spoken public forums, created “an unsafe work environment for CUPE members and other Board employees” the HRT complaint stated. The complaint asked for a declatory order that the board has breached the Human Rights Code, and that all trustees and senior management take part in training on LGBTQ equality rights, and on protecting LGBTQ students in schools.

On Nov. 3, new chair of the board, Willow Reichelt, read out a joint public statement (see below) announcing that their portion of the complaint had been settled and there would be no further action. It lists steps the board has taken, including painting a rainbow in the parking lot of the district office.

While the board has settled with CUPE 411, Neufeld personally has not.

CUPE’s complaint did also ask that a fee of $50,000 in compensation for “injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect” be paid on behalf of affected employee to a non-profit group that advocates for LGBTQ youth. The board’s recent statement did not mention such a payment, and the issue would have been settled in an in-camera meeting as it dealt with legal issues.

However, Neufeld has publicly mentioned a payment that could be connected. In a Facebook post he said the board has given a “pay out of thousands of dollars to a gay advocacy group … that would come back to haunt us!”

Shortly after posting that on Facebook, Neufeld edited out the word “gay.”

There is also a human rights complaint against Neufeld, but not the school board, by the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association. There has been no public update made recently about that complaint.

READ MORE: Union files human rights complaint over Chilliwack school trustee’s LGBTQ comments

Joint public statement respecting the settlement between the Board of Education (Chilliwack) and CUPE Local 411

“Both the Chilliwack Board of Education, School District #33 (the “Board”) and CUPE Local 411 (the Union) believe that schools and workplaces must be safe and welcoming for all, students and staff alike, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion or background. The Board and the Union do not condone any conduct that is racist, sexist, transphobic or homophobic, or that discriminates on any other human right ground.

The Board has taken initiatives to improve the safe learning and working environment for LGBTQ individuals, including painting a rainbow crosswalk in the School District #33 parking lot, censuring discriminatory commentary from a trustee, and committing to provide education workshops for trustees on gender identity, sexual orientation, human rights and antidiscrimination. The Union recognizes these initiatives by the Board and is committed to working with the Board going forward to ensure everyone feels included and respected in a safe learning and working environment while being fully and completely themselves.

The Board and the Union are pleased that, following good faith discussions between them, they have come to a mutually satisfactory resolution of a human rights complaint against the Board by the Union, arising from one trustee’s personal comments, and that that complaint against the Board will not be proceeding further.”

READ MORE: Neufeld will run again on ‘gender positive’ platform


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Chilliwack School District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An original piece of artwork by Rosie Laponder, was stolen along with various art supplies from Julie Ann’s Art and Custom Framing in Chilliwack on Nov. 28, 2020. (Submitted image)
Thieves steal original artwork, art supplies from Chilliwack store

‘It kind of makes you sick to your stomach,’ says store manager

The paraglider pilot, while attempting to free himself, dropped 30 feet and sustained serious injuries as Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue members worked quickly to extract him from the trees. They were able to get him to a waiting ambulance at the end of a nearby forest service road. (Contributed Photo/Dave Harder)
Lower Mainland Search and Rescue saves paraglider in treetop rescue

Pilot tried to self-rescue but sustained serious injuries in a 30-foot fall

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
Violent crime spree involving knife ends in arrest in Chilliwack

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Chilliwack City Hall. (Chilliwack Progress file)
Election officer appointments at city hall to get the ball rolling on trustee byelection

Chilliwack council to approve chief election officer and deputy officer as part of the election prep

City of Chilliwack 2020 budget contains an emphasis on lighting upgrades, among other key priorities, with this example of the improved performance of LED lights. (City of Chilliwack)
Citizens can weigh in virtually on the Chilliwack budget at Dec. 1 public hearing

Have to register at city hall Nov. 30 (today) by 4 p.m. by email to city clerk or calling

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Menno Place. (Google Street View image.)
32 family members respond to Abbotsford care home’s plea for staffing help during COVID-19 outbreak

Menno Home asks for relief workers for food service, laundry and housekeeping

Kettle bells sit aligned in an indoor fitness studio. (PIxabay.com)
1 COVID-19 case at a B.C. fitness studio leads to 104 more infections, 6 school exposures

According to case data released by Fraser Health, one case of the novel coronavirus carries a big impact

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Co-author of residential schools book condemns controversial Abbotsford class assignment

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Most Read