B.C. trustee apologizes after 'child abuse' comments about gender identity
Published Thursday, October 26, 2017 7:46AM EDT
A B.C. school official who used social media to rant against the province's new trans-friendly curriculum has now issued a public apology.
Barry Neufeld, a trustee for the Chilliwack School District, wrote on Facebook Monday that he felt that the school district’s new curriculum which instructs teachers to recognize students' right to self-identify their gender is "biologically absurd."
He also wrote that gender theory is “the latest fad” and that “allowing little children choose to change gender is nothing short of child abuse.”
On Wednesday, Neufeld issued a statement to say his remarks were directed at the lessons themselves, not certain people.
“I am critical of an educational resource, not individuals,” he said in a written statement.
He said that those who have worked with him at the district for the last 24 years “know that I DO believe in inclusion and a safe learning environment for all of our students, that they should be protected from all forms of bullying and intimidation."
Neufeld added he believes in the importance of “respectful discussion and dissent,” and that he hopes the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) 123 curriculum will be thoroughly reviewed by parents and teachers before it's implemented.
The SOGI 123 curriculum aims to educate children about gender identity, promote inclusion, and discourage bullying.
Neufeld’s lengthy Facebook post, which is no longer public, was met with more than 100 comments, with most expressing alarm at his stance and calling for him to resign, and others congratulating him for speaking up.
The post prompted the Chilliwack Board of Education to hold a closed-door, emergency meeting Tuesday night.
The board later issued a statement to say it does not agree with the opinions Neufeld expressed in his Facebook post and that the new curriculum keeps the school district in line with the B.C. Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms as well as the province's Human Rights Code.
Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld issues statement re:controversial FB post:"I want to apologize to those who felt hurt by my opinion" pic.twitter.com/qxE0gfpOG8— Nafeesa Karim (@nafeesakarim) October 25, 2017