Clockwise from top left: Carin Bondar, Brian VanGarderen, Richard Procee and Adam Suleman are the four candidates for the Feb. 13, 2021 byelection for school trustee in Chilliwack. (Submitted photos)

Clockwise from top left: Carin Bondar, Brian VanGarderen, Richard Procee and Adam Suleman are the four candidates for the Feb. 13, 2021 byelection for school trustee in Chilliwack. (Submitted photos)

LETTER: Sitting Chilliwack school trustees should not be endorsing byelection candidates

Doing so compromises impartiality in elected role

A few thoughts on incumbents endorsing candidates during the school board byelection campaign: “Don’t do it.”

Some people feel that endorsing candidates on their home page on social media neutralizes a perception of publicly expressed bias.

It does not.

As I discovered recently, people who post on their home page or on the page of a Facebook friend, often do not realize that, like the ripples in a pond when you lob a stone, that ripple effect spreads out beyond where the stone was thrown.

Ironically, the same people who do this, feel that somebody like Barry Neufeld, posting on his home page, his personal opinions, is somehow different from them endorsing or voicing non-support for a candidate on their home page.

READ MORE: Four candidates vying for vacant seat in upcoming school trustee byelection in Chilliwack

There is no difference between personally posting a message calling for the non-election of one candidate, to a personal message calling for the non-support of a controversial curriculum change.

Both messages resonate to one degree or another, in how students will be impacted by what they are being taught, or which trustees are supporting what they will be taught.

When you are seen as endorsing a candidate, and you hold a position of authority in any elected body, your impartiality in your role on that elected body has been compromised by all who were aware of who you endorsed, and who you failed to give the respect they deserved as a candidate.

In respect to this current byelection, and the degree to which an endorsement of a candidate has any real potential for significant long term change, an endorsement at this time is ill-advised.

The school board election of 2022 is when real change will happen, and a school board that is not seen as merely rubber-stamping administration recommendations will come into fruition.

Until then, I take solace in the integrity of many trustees that are now holding those offices.

Dean Roosevelt

Vernon

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