Trustees Darrell Furgason (right) and Barry Neufeld at a January 2019 board meeting. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Chilliwack trustee responds to teachers’ call for censure

Furgason: 'Unions exist to make demands from an employer for their members'

A Chilliwack trustee has reponded to the local teacher union’s call for his censure.

The Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA) made a motion last week to suggest Darrell Furgason be censured by the school board. They also called for the resignation of trustee Barry Neufeld, and will be lobbying the Ministry of Education “to enact legislation to provide a code of ethics for trustees, including a mechanism to remove individual trustees in extraordinary circumstances.”

This is all in the wake of Neufeld using a derogatory word, sometimes used against people with development disabilites, in a Facebook post. Furgason came to Neufeld’s defence in a separate post, and that’s what caused the CTA’s motion.

READ MORE: Chilliwack teachers respond to trustee’s ableist slurs

In an email sent to The Progress, Furgason replied to the CTA’s motion saying he does “totally support and admire the wonderful teachers in our district.”

He says he takes issue with the CTA leadership, saying they “have not shown us any respect, and regretfully have weaponized that disrespect via the local media.”

“Unions exist to make demands from an employer for their members,” he said.

While he doesn’t address the most recent issue, he refers back to the school calendar decision, where he and trustee Heather Maahs had spoken against a two-week break to minimize lost class time. The discussion took place while students were not in classrooms due to the pandemic. The two-week break was voted in, and involved an abitrator.

“Our concern was dismissed,” he said. “Perhaps it is time that the CTA listened to the concerns of trustees in regards to student achievement, rather than continue to assert their demands.”

READ MORE: Chilliwack school board accepts arbitrator’s calendar decision

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Chilliwack Progress