Trustees Darrell Furgason (right) and Barry Neufeld at a January board meeting. (Progress file)

Question period won’t change after Chilliwack trustee motion fails

Public participation will continue to be limited to items on the night’s agenda

Question period at the Chilliwack School Board no longer allows “rants” from the public, and it seems that won’t be changing anytime soon.

A change was made earlier this year to the public participation portion of the board’s publicly held regular meetings. Where the public used to be able to step to the mic to make a statement or ask questions of the board on topics on or off the agenda, it’s been pared down considerably.

The public may now only address issues pertaining to agenda items, and that must be in question form. Those asking questions state their name and their relationship to the school district.

The change was made following several meetings that were overtaken by people against the use of SOGI 123 materials, with some speakers coming from other cities to make statements to the board. Chilliwack’s school board meetings are recorded with a live feed available through YouTube.

READ MORE: Question period pared down at Chilliwack school board meetings

However, at Tuesday’s meeting, Trustee Darrell Furgason made a motion to restore the ability for the public to speak about any issue they feel the board should be aware of. He said the current rules “discourage community involvement.”

But several of the trustees said that the new public participation rules have calmed down the atmosphere in the room, which had become “toxic.”

Trustee Jared Mumford stated that the actions of the public at some of those meetings resulted in some trustees not feeling safe.

Board chair Dan Coulter said it was “beyond-the-pale craziness” and doesn’t want to see a return to that, but Trustee Barry Neufeld noted that the participation was also up in the voting booth.

“We had some rowdy meetings,” he said. “But we were rewarded with a healthy turnout.”

In the end, only Furgason, Neufeld and Trustee Heather Maahs voted in favour of the amendment, and it failed.

There are a few ways to get in touch with trustees, and their emails and phone numbers are on the district’s website. However, Furgason noted that letters and phone calls don’t get made public.

“We don’t have to broadcast other people,” Coulter countered. “It’s not the school board’s job.”

The district’s YouTube channel has 128 subscribers and the majority of past meetings have well over 500 views, one with 1.2K.

By Wednesday morning, 140 people had tuned in to watch at least a portion of Tuesday’s meeting.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chilliwack theatre talent shines on outdoor Vancouver stage

Adam Charles lands lead role in Disney’s Newsies with Theatre Under the Stars

Fatal railway crossing accident in Chilliwack highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: TSB report

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

Indie rock meets classic rock for Mudsharks 3 concert in Chilliwack

The local band will be playing both original hits and cover songs at free concert at Corky’s

Molson-Coors to honour Sto:lo culture and history at Chilliwack brewery

Artist proposals sought by July 30 to design and install a commemorative piece

Tractor exhaust pipe causes fire on Agassiz field

Agassiz fire crews were on scene around 1 p.m. Tuesday

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Most Read