Asked to resign, Barry Neufeld lights smoke during Chilliwack school board meeting

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — Unprofessional is how a Chilliwack school trustee is being described by his peers, who want him to resign, after the official lit up a smoke during a video meeting Tuesday.

It was in reaction to a censuring by his peers who voted to ask him to resign for using an inappropriate slur (the ‘R’ word) to describe several local reporters, last November.

On Tuesday, in an in-camera meeting, trustees voted in favour of asking the outspoken anti-LGBTQ+ official to resign for the Facebook post that caught the attention of the province and disability advocates.

Still facing the fallout from this attack on @TheProgress reporters, Chilliwack Schools Trustee, Barry Neufeld, is getting attention for disrespectful antics following a censuring by peers who asked for him to resign, Tuesday. He lit up a smoke and drank on camera in the meeting. https://t.co/NsmKWwXQGC

— Ash ‘I work from home now’ Kelly (@AshDKelly) January 14, 2021

After the board twice read a statement

Neufeld didn’t respond to the statement, which was read by vice-chair Jared Mumford, but a few minutes later, Neufeld stepped away from the screen.

When he returns, moments later, he leans in to light a cigarette and then takes a swig from a wine glass before his video feed cuts out.

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His video feed restarts in time for the regular meeting, which he appears to fall asleep during, according to the Chilliwack Progress.

This isn’t the first time Barry Neufeld sparked controversy for his behaviour, or the first time he’s been asked to step down by other board members.

This week’s vote adds the Chilliwack school board joins a list of those wanting Neufeld’s resignation, including former education minister Rob Fleming and his successor Jennifer Whiteside.

He has repeatedly made offensive comments and in December, the province announced it would be taking a closer look at the entire Chilliwack School Board, its actions and its headline-generating meetings, following the various controversies.

The Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld. (Photo courtesy Barry Neufeld, via Facebook)

Neufeld has made transphobic comments directed at Canada’s top doctor, Theresa Tam, for which he later apologized.

Neufeld’s various comments have consistently been met with calls for his resignation, including from Chilliwack school board chair, Willow Reichelt. A petition was also launched aimed at Neufeld’s removal.

The School Act allows for the review, and the provincial government can also replace an entire board with an official trustee.

The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association applauded the review when it was first announced. The CTA had also called for Neufeld to resign at the end of November.