B.C.’s new education minister has appointed a pair of special advisors to evaluate Chilliwack’s school board.
Jennifer Whiteside appointed retired B.C. Supreme Court justice Lynn Smith and former Surrey school superintendent Mike Mckay to evaluate the board’s commitment to a “safe, inclusive and welcoming” school system.
It comes after a string of controversial comments from board member Barry Neufeld.
Neufeld most recently made headlines when he used a slur for people with developmental disabilities to refer to staff at a Chilliwack community newspaper in a Facebook post.
In May the Chilliwack school board censured him for a conspiracy theory-riddled Facebook post about COVID-19, which included personal attacks on federal chief medical health officer Dr. Theresa Tam and allegations about her gender.
He has previously stirred controversy for his active opposition to SOGI123, a provincial program designed to create an inclusive environment for LGBTQ2 kids in schools, and for referring to gender transitioning as “child abuse.”
B.C.’s School Act does not allow for the province to fire individual school trustees, though does contain a provision allowing the minister to remove the entire school board and replace it with a single appointed trustee.
Smith and McKay are expected to deliver a report by the end of February.
Education Ministry staff have also launched a review of the School Act.