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Chilliwack teachers vote non-confidence in school board

January 17, 2018

Amid growing controversy and concern for the emotional and physical safety of students, staff and teachers,
members of the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA) have passed a motion of non-confidence in the
Chilliwack Board of Education.

At their January 16, 2018 General Meeting, teachers expressed deep concerns about the failure of Chilliwack
trustees to take a strong stand in the wake of attacks on the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI)

“We are extremely worried about ensuring safe and inclusive schools and worksites for all,” said CTA President
Lee-Anne Clarke. “At a time when our school community needs a unified response of support, the board has
allowed a toxic climate to spread across the school district.”

“The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association is also calling on Education Minister Rob Fleming to intervene in this
matter,” Clarke said.

She noted that in July 2016, the BC Human Rights Code was amended to include gender identity and
expression as a prohibited ground of discrimination. Accordingly, in September 2016, the Ministry of Education
issued a directive requiring all school boards to include sexual orientation and gender identity in district and
school codes of conduct.

BC Teachers’ Federation President Glen Hansman said, “These changes are long overdue, and the BCTF has
been fully supportive of these efforts to support LGBTQ students, staff, and other members of our school
communities.” He added that the SOGI 123 resources were created collaboratively by the provincial Ministry of
Education, the BCTF, nine school districts, and Out In Schools.

Since offensive public Facebook posts started appearing in late October, the Board of Education has been
unable to prevent Trustee Barry Neufeld from spreading misinformation about what is being taught in
Chilliwack schools.

“By not collectively opposing this cruel misinformation, the Chilliwack School Board of Trustees has failed in
its responsibility to the students, staff, teachers and others in our school community,” Clarke said. “The
members of the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association are highly skilled professionals who are fully capable of
dealing with difficult questions and complex situations, and we expect our elected trustees to do the same.”

Hansman said: “Sometimes our beliefs, values, and responsibilities as professional educators are challenged by
those who promote hatred. This is often the case when it comes to sexual health curriculum in schools and our
efforts to ensure safe, inclusive schools for all students – including LGBTQ students.“

“Far from being deterred by such tactics, the BCTF and the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association are continuing to
work closely together to support LGBTQ members of our school communities, as required by law and policy.”

Media Contact CTA President Lee-Anne Clarke 604-792-9233

EK:md:LEU/USW 1-3567 203-45970 Airport Road, Chilliwack, BC V2P 1A2 T604-792-9233