The mother of a 13-year-old boy with autism has started a petition calling for the resignation of one of AutismBC’s directors.
Mirella Russell is calling for Laurie Guerra, who is also a Surrey city councillor, to step down from her position with the organization.
It comes after it was reported that newly-elected Surrey councillors Laurie Guerra and Steven Pettigrew both spoke at a post-election party attended by anti-SOGI 123 groups.
SOGI 123 is a resource package designed to help teachers and school administrators reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in their curriculum.
“My heart hurt because as a parent of a child who has special needs, who I always fight for his inclusion, I felt that the organization that represents kids on the spectrum all of a sudden had a representative who spoke of hatred, and to me that felt like a betrayal.”
In an emailed statement, Guerra referred questions on the matter to AutismBC.
“At this time I am extremely busy doing the work the residents of Surrey elected me to do,” she wrote. “AutismBC has put out a formal statement in response to the matter.”
However, Guerra also appeared to address the controversy on her Facebook page, writing, “After only three days in office I finally get what the term ‘fake news’ means.”
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The president of AutismBC has also responded, releasing a written statement.
“The views and opinions made by directors and staff of AutismBC do not necessarily reflect the views of AutismBC,” wrote president Gary Robins.
Guerra has a son who lives with autism and her biography states she’s been an active board director with AutismBC for more than 13 years.