Chilliwack’s school board election proved to be one of the more contentious races on Saturday, after garnering attention from across the province thanks to controversy over an anti-bullying LGBTQ teaching resource.
Incumbent Dan Coulter will be joined by Willow Reichelt, David Swankey and Jared Mumford, meaning they’ll hold four of the seven seats on the board.
Across the table, they’ll face controversial incumbent Barry Neufeld along with incumbent Heather Maahs, and newcomer Darrel Furgason.
A slate of shifting size, including Neufeld, expressed opposition to the SOGI 123 resource leading to a controversy that overshadowed educational issues in the district.
Neufeld, Furgason and two other candidates had distributed flyers with their four faces asking the public to, “Vote to protect innocence.”
Maahs was not on the flyer distributed, but she has supported Neufeld, has expressed issues with SOGI 123, and Ferguson urged voters aligned with his way of thinking to vote for her as well.
The seven-seat board was always going to have a new look with board chair Paul McManus, vice-chair Walt Krahn, and Bob Patterson not running for re-election.
McManus’s parting message to voters turned out to be only partially heeded with the re-election of Neufeld and Maahs. In a letter to The Progress, McManus suggested the anti-SOGI 123 candidates would likely not be allowed in schools, and their presence on the board would be detrimental to the whole community.
Just a day before the election, it was revealed Neufeld has filed a defamation lawsuit against BCTF president Glen Hansman.