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Chilliwack teachers pass motion urging trustee Barry Neufeld to resign over ‘R-word’ comment

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The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association says its members have passed a motion calling for the resignation of trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial comments he posted on social media.

In a Facebook post, Neufeld called three staff members of the Chilliwack Progress newspaper the R-word, a slur used against people with intellectual disabilities.

Read more: Controversial Chilliwack, B.C., school trustee calls local journalists R-word in online post

He later changed the word to “radicals,” before deleting the post completely.

Association president Ed Klettke said it’s unacceptable for an elected official to use such language.

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“Lively debate is one thing, but making ignorant and offensive statements as an elected official is very inappropriate,” he said.

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An online petition calling for Neufeld to be removed from office had garnered more than 10,000 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon.

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Education Minister Rob Fleming has again called for Neufeld to resign and said he is exploring ways the ministry can address the situation. The School Act only allows cabinet to remove an entire board, and not an individual trustee.

The association’s motion called for changes to the School Act.

“It is unfortunate that there is currently no mechanism to remove an individual trustee in an extraordinary situation,” Klettke said.

Neufeld did not respond to a request for comment at the time of the Facebook post.

The association also called for the censure of trustee Darrell Furgason, who had defended Neufeld.

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Neufeld has come under fire several times previously, for comparing gender transitioning to “child abuse” and calling gender confusion a “sexual addiction.”

In May, he apologized for comments he made about Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam.

— With files from Amy Judd