Chilliwack school trustee Heather Maahs has responded to the Chilliwack School Board’s move to censure her.
The board voted to do so March 16, suggesting Maahs hadn’t carried out her duties faithfully, diligently and in a manner that inspires public confidence in the ability and integrity of the board.
A statement released at the time said, “Additionally, trustees will accept the decisions of the board and support proposed actions in the implementation of a decision, regardless of holding an opposing position in debate or casting an opposition vote.”
In a response emailed to The Progress March 21, Maahs said she felt compelled to release a statement defending her reputation and character as a longstanding trustee.
“At the public board meeting held on February 7, 2023, policies were debated and discussed, with the public expressing their opinions on books in schools that contained sexually explicit content,” Maahs wrote. “The chair was unwilling to hear opinions contrary to her own and cut the microphone on the public and myself on several occasions during that meeting. These actions sparked outrage from the public and subsequently the board received approximately 400 emails objecting to the chair’s conduct and the board’s approval allowing books with sexually explicit content in our schools.
“As a result, without a fair process, the board decided that I was responsible for the public reaction and have censured me.
“I have always been a strong advocate for reading and I will continue to support and advocate for reading and the development of strong skills for all our students. I believe in the important role of parents and parents’ rights in advocating for their children.”
A full recording of the Feb. 7 meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/live/WraW9VXbfKE.
The SD33 statement suggested Maahs’ opposition to a student-led event also played into their decision, but she didn’t touch on that in her response.
As to what the censure means, it’s an open-ended term that might mean she cannot participate in meetings or only in closed-door meetings. It might require her to take training or some other measure. The board will need to set parameters for it.
The last time a school trustee was censured was in May of 2020 with former trustee Barry Neufeld.
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