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Chilliwack trustee censured for a 3rd time by school board

Trustee Maahs barred from in-camera meetings for rest of term after ‘breach’ of confidentiality
The Chilliwack School District office on Aug. 25, 2010. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)

Chilliwack school trustee Heather Maahs has been censured for a third time.

Trustee Maahs has been barred from attending in-camera meetings for the rest of the 2023-24 school year after receiving another formal censure last week from the Chilliwack Board of Education.

“At its Feb. 13 in-camera meeting, the board met to address an alleged breach in confidentiality by a member of the board,” according to the Chilliwack School District website.

The board decided that Maahs “had not upheld the confidentiality” as required in accordance with Section 7.4 of Bylaw 5.

It did not disclose the nature of the subject matter in question due to the inherent confidentiality issues.

The last time Maahs was singled out for board censure was in December 2023. Officials said at the time that it was due to the trustee’s ongoing “public opposition to inclusive practices that are endorsed by the Board of Education.”

Maahs offered The Progress a statement in December, saying she found it “disappointing” to be censured for “reposting” an article that talked about a survey of students, and their personal pronouns:

“In the 15 years I’ve been a school trustee, parental rights have been a priority for me,” she wrote. “When I see an issue/article that I believe is important for parents to be informed of, I’ll raise it, just like I brought forward the parental rights policy that was unfortunately not passed.”

Maahs received the first expression of board censure in March 2023, which stated in part: “Additionally, trustees will accept the decisions of the board and support proposed actions in the implementation of a decision, regardless of holding an opposing position in debate or casting an opposition vote.”

Prior to this, the last time the board censured one of its own was in 2020, when the board censured then-trustee Barry Neufeld, which resulted in him being barred from the schools, school events, and committees.

The word “censure” can be defined as “a severe expression of disapproval,” often in a formal statement, as the school board did in issuing a public statement about the censure of a trustee.

The board then sets the parameters for the censure and any actions taken.

Superintendent Rohan Arul-Pragasm read out the following statement at the end of the Feb. 13 board meeting:

“Every adult in the K-12 system carries the responsibility to proactively create safe, caring, and inclusive learning environments for all students, and support experiences of safety, dignity, and respect.

“It is also important that every adult in the K-12 system feels that their own safety and well-being is supported at their school or workplace.”

READ MORE: 2nd board censure was December 2023

READ MORE: 1st board censure was March 2023

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering the arts, city hall, as well as Indigenous, and climate change stories.
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