(Jessica Peters/Black Press)                                Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld speaking against the B.C. education ministry’s SOGI program at a rally called by Culture Guard in Chilliwack.

(Jessica Peters/Black Press) Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld speaking against the B.C. education ministry’s SOGI program at a rally called by Culture Guard in Chilliwack.

Letter: ‘Dangerous ground regarding freedom of speech’

‘Trustee Neufeld has not maligned any person who is LGBTQ.’

Editor, The News:

Re: Maple Ridge school board declines to host meeting over Neufeld.

I question the reasoning behind the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board declining to host the Fraser Valley branch meeting of the B.C. School Trustee Association.

The board said it was because Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld planned to attend.

However, Mr. Neufeld is only one of 35 or more members (members from six boards of education) that would be invited to that meeting. From what I have read and heard, trustee Neufeld has not maligned any person who is LGBTQ.

What he has done is share his concerns regarding the new SOGI 123 curriculum, as well as supporting parents’ rights to contest material being brought into the classroom.

In a Nov. 28 meeting, Mr. Neufeld stated: “I believe there are many good parts in the SOGI agenda, but I think there needs to be some work done on it to make it acceptable to all members of our community.”

He also said: “ … one thing I’m concerned about, if we implement this program, is that all parents, not just activist parents, but all parents, are aware of it and are part of it.”

As a school trustee, is it not part of his job to share concerns he has with various aspects of education, especially new curriculum?

As a trustee, is it not part of his job to consider concerns parents and others have shared with him?

Is it not wiser to share the views from all sides when evaluating new curriculum or other educational matters?

This includes both those who are in favour and those who have concerns with the curriculum or with other educational issues.

Further, as a Canadian, is it not his right to state his concerns and share his opinion?

Or are we denying him – and others – that right?

Are we saying you may only share your opinion if you agree with what others believe?

We are treading on dangerous ground when we repress freedom of speech.

Ardith Vis

Maple Ridge

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