New punitive action has been taken against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld.
The board of education has excluded him from taking part in their remaining in-camera meetings of the school year, for contravening two rules for such meetings. The decision was announced at the beginning of the Nov. 24 board meeting, by vice-chair Jared Mumford.
He said the decision to exclude Neufeld from in-camera meetings, which are closed to the public, was because he shared contents of a meeting with the public. Mumford stated that the board found he also refused to recuse himself in an in-camera on a matter for which he had pecuniary conflict of interest. No details are available on that issue.
As for sharing confidential information publicly, at a public board meeting in October Neufeld began to speak about a decision to make a payment of “thousands” to an LGBTQ group. A point of order was quickly called and he stopped.
But he also posted the same information on his Facebook page. More recently, he did a video interview with media outlet Rebel News and repeated the information again.
Neufeld was already under censure for comments made about Dr. Theresa Tam, earlier this year. He is not allowed to be invited to, or attend, any board events at schools. He was also removed as a trustee school liaison after comments made against the transgender community regarding a teaching resource called SOGI 123.
In addition to the announcement of the in-camera exclusion, board chair Willow Reichelt read a statement apologizing to the Asian community for one trustee’s remarks.
Earlier this month, Neufeld compared Chinese expatriates to “rats leaving a sinking ship” as they head back to China as the COVID-19 pandemic carries on.
His most recent comments, using the R-word as a derogatory slur against three Chilliwack Progress employees, were brought up at the beginning of the meeting. When someone asked about it in question period, Reichelt noted that there has not been proper time and opportunity to deal with it yet.
Neufeld was not present at the Nov. 24 meeting, and either was Trustee Heather Maahs, or Dan Coulter, whose resignation was announced at the end of the meeting. Coulter is now the MLA for the Chilliwack riding.
The Progress has reached out to Neufeld for comment.
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