Reaction to an anti-transgender, conspiracy-theory post by a Chilliwack school trustee is continuing, days after the post was removed from social media.
On Saturday evening, Barry Neufeld posted a video to his Facebook page of a satirical comic, along with his own jabs at the World Health Organization and Dr. Theresa Tam. It quickly made the news, as people shared an image of the post around social media channels.
By Monday, a petition was created on change.org called Remove Barry Neufeld from Chilliwack School District. It has more than 1,800 signatures on it as of Tuesday morning. While the Ministry of Education cannot remove a single trustee, many of those signing have said it makes a statement from the public.
“This person is elected to serve and represent every student in the school district. When a person chooses to only serve some, at the expensive of the many, he has simply abdicated his responsibility and is not doing his job,” one comment said.
His post stirred up recent controversy that he also stepped into, regarding transgender people. His post suggests Dr. Tam, who is leading the charge on the Canadian novel coronavirus front, is transgender and therefore cannot be trusted.
“If this person, who has spent a major portion of their life deceiving people as to who she/he truly is and is now a major player in the corrupt World Health Organization, why should we believe anything he/she says?” his post said.
But his post, which was covered in virtually all media over the weekend, also moved others to instead let the world know that Chilliwack is not to be defined by one set of views.
Someone created the social media hashtag #ThisIsMyChilliwack to be used to share positive stories and images, in an attempt to counter the negative news coverage. It caught on quickly with educators.
The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association, which currently has a Human Rights Tribunal complaint against Neufeld, was leading the charge in the positivity campaign.
Chilliwack teachers do amazing work every day. We love our community. Use #ThisIsMyChilliwack and #bced to show what we are all about. Share what you are doing that demonstrates respect, inclusivity, and positivity in Chilliwack. pic.twitter.com/uzLJRNo8Bv
— Chilliwack Teachers' Association (@chwkteachers) May 11, 2020
“Chilliwack teachers do amazing work every day. We love our community. Use #ThisIsMyChilliwack and #bced to show what we are all about. Share what you are doing that demonstrates respect, inclusivity, and positivity in Chilliwack.”
The BC Teachers’ Federation also tweeted out about Chilliwack using the hashtag.
“The community is so much better than the impression one trustee leaves with his hurtful views,” the union stated.
So many incredible, caring, and inclusive teachers and support staff in #Chilliwack who respect all students and families. The community is so much better than the impression one trustee leaves with his hurtful views. #ThisIsMyChilliwack #bced http://t.co/GnChEi9Eve
— BCTF (@bctf) May 11, 2020
The hashtag has prompted teachers, parents, staff and even former staff to chime in with their best moments of caring and inclusion through school settings in Chilliwack.
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