Support for the SOGI program inside Evergreen Hall in Chilliwack Tuesday night. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Chilliwack school trustee Neufled vows to run for re-election on anti SOGI platform

Chilliwack crowd cheers condemnation of education ministry’s program on sexual orientation and gender identification

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has doubled down on his criticism of gender orientation resources being introduced to Chilliwack schools, saying he’ll campaign on the issue when he runs for re-election next year.

Neufeld, who called the B.C. education ministry’s program on Sexual Identity and Gender Orientation “a weapon of propaganda,” told a packed rally in Chilliwack Tuesday that he won’t back down from criticisms he’s made about the program.

He called SOGI an indoctrination, echoing condemnation by the self-proclaimed “Culture Guard” who organized the rally. They say parents should be the only ones to address issues of gender with children.

Neufled was the “guest of honour” at the rally and earned applause from the 400-plus people who turned out for the event – people that included fellow trustee Heather Maahs and former Chilliwack MLA John Les.

Outside the rally, there was a counter-rally. A group of about two dozen protesters showed up with signs and flags, and chanted as people entered and exited Evergreen Hall. They were mostly parents, teachers and advocates from Chilliwack. They are calling for Neufeld to resign. But in his speech, he stated that while he won’t go against the wishes of the board, he will be running on a platform of parent involvement and against SOGI implementation, when it’s time to vote for school trustees in the fall of 2018.

The issue of how to deal with gender identity in the classroom remains undecided in Chilliwack. But, the resource material is available for any teacher to use in B.C., following changes to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


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jpeters@theprogress.com

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Protesters outside a rally called by Culture Guard. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

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