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LETTER: Trustee Darrell Furgason picks and chooses when to follow Code of Ethics

‘Demonstrate first that you can all follow the rules and your colleagues might actually do the same’

I find Trustee Darell Furgason’s response to Jessica Peters’ article of Nov. 12, 2020 “Chilliwack school trustee speaks out about board harassment” to be a convenient case of amnesia in regards to his fellow Trustee Barry Neufeld.

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In saying “I believe this (Ms. Reichelt’s behaviour in school board meetings) is hypocritical and is also a clear violation of the Trustee Code of Ethics.” Mr. Furgason has invoked the same code that Trustee Neufeld has so clearly violated on countless occasions since his first anti SOGI 123 post on Facebook in 2017.

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I offer the following sections from the SD33.bc.ca website in regards to Mr. Neufeld’s Facebook post and subsequent statements through social and news media:

Policy 205 – Code of Ethics for Trustees – Page 2

13) Represent the entire District rather than individual electors, patrons or groups.

14) Not use the schools or any part of the school program for my own personal advantage, or for the advantage of my friends or supporters.

15) Ensure that I do not share, verbally or through email or social media, any inappropriate or unwelcome content related to a prohibited ground of discrimination as set out in the Human Rights Code

Mr. Furgason seems to think that the Code of Ethics apply only to the Trustees he disagrees with.

I cannot speak to Ms. Reichelt’s behaviour as having engendering animus amongst certain members of the Chilliwack School Board. I was not there so I would not know. I do know that calling out Ms. Reichelt’s behaviour in a vacuum and scolding her as being unsuitable for the position ignores the bitter seeds that Mr. Neufeld has sown in this community since 2017.

The resulting sour taste between the Trustees of the School Board is a very appropriate, human response to Mr. Neufeld’s actions. Ms. Reichelt’s response, whether improper or not, is indicative of that. If one demands respect one must first give it out.

In 2017 Mr. Neufeld disrespected this community by choosing to speak only for himself and the community of citizens who share his views. In violating the School Board Code of Ethics over the last three years he has lost the trust of the majority of the citizens in this community. He and his allies are in no position to point fingers when they have chosen to step outside of that code whenever it suited their personal agenda.

Demonstrate first that you can all follow the rules and your colleagues might actually do the same Mr. Furgason.

Chris Woods

Chilliwack

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