Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)

Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

An Abbotsford board of education trustee has agreed to temporarily step away from his duties after controversial social media posts he shared were discovered.

Phil Anderson shared an image comparing wearing a mask to slavery on his personal Facebook account on April 29. The photo features a mask waving in the air attached to a flag post and refers to a mask as “the flag of slavery.”

Abbotsford board of education chair Stan Petersen said they were made aware of the posts Thursday night (May 6) and decided to act swiftly.

“We emphatically state that this is not reflective of our board’s position,” he told The News in an email.

“The Abbotsford board of education is fundamentally committed to providing a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for all our students, staff and families. The board is strongly committed to anti-racism, and opposes hate in any form.

“In addition, we remain committed to fully implementing the provincial public health and safety procedures, and strongly support the work of our staff who have been dedicated to our students throughout the pandemic.”

Petersen said Anderson has agreed to temporarily step away from his duties to take training to build a better understanding of these issues. He has also agreed to apologize and take down the posts in question and refrain from using social media at this time.

According to the Abbotsford School District, training has not yet been finalized but Anderson will report back on the results.

“Trustee Anderson is currently investigating professional development options focused on anti-racism, equity and inclusion, and the use of social media,” stated Kayla Stuckart, communications manager for the district. “He has committed to his colleagues on the board to report back on his learning and growth at a future date.”

Anderson went on to apologize for his actions on his Facebook page.

“Unfortunately, I have shared posts on my profile that were ill conceived, and I deeply regret my actions,” he stated. “Please understand that at this time I am removing access to my Facebook account, and related social media. Please know that my actions are not reflective of our board’s position. Thank you for your understanding, and again, my apologies.”

Anderson has been elected twice as a trustee in Abbotsford, last placing sixth in the 2018 election with 10,064 votes.

abbotsford

Just Posted

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Creston’s high school

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for the former Prince Charles Secondary School

A new doctor has been recruited for the Creston Valley. (Pixabay)
New doctor recruited for the Creston Valley

Dr. Luke Turanich is expected to begin practice in late summer/early fall

Author John Vaillant joins Lisa Moore and Fred Wah for Elephant Mountain Literary Festival’s Alumni Reading on Friday, July 9. All three authors were featured at the inaugural festival in 2012. Photo: Submitted
FESTIVAL TALES: When 2012 meets 2021

The Elephant Mountain Literary Festival will include authors from the event’s inaugural year

The pilot of this single-engine propeller plane was unhurt after crash-landing in a Como Road orchard Friday, June 18. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Plane crash lands into Grand Forks orchard, pilot injured

RCMP have secured the crash site, pending investigation by Transport Canada

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

John Furlong told the Vancouver Board of Trade on Feb. 20, 2020 that he thinks the city could and should bid for the 2030 Winter Games. (CP photo)
PODCAST: John Furlong lays out a ‘provincial’ plan to host the 2030 Winter Olympics

Podcast: Chat includes potential role for Vancouver Island communities

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Family homeless after fire rips through Chilliwack house

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

BC Ferries’ newest Island Class vessel is experiencing an issue with one of its thrusters off the Algerian coast. Photo courtesy patbaywebcam.com.
BC Ferries newest vessel having mechanical issues in Mediterranean

Island 4 will be repaired in Spain before crossing Atlantic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

Most Read