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Dear SD 33 Superintendent, Rohan Arul-Pragasam, and Trustees,
As a result of the Board meeting held on February 7, 2023, I request that Trustee Reichelt be suspended from her duties, or at the very least removed as Chair. Trustee Reichelt is in breach of her duties according to the Robert’s Rules of Order, the Chilliwack’s SD Policy 130 Trustee Code of Conduct, and the professional standards set for Trustees by the BCSTA.
A skilled chairperson allows all members to voice their opinions in an orderly manner so that everyone in the meeting can hear and be heard. Following are three critical points to run a fair, efficient and democratic meeting:
- Control the meeting as servant of the group, not “boss.”
- Model and insist on courtesy and respect.
- Listen to each person speaking as if there were no one else in the room.
Trustee Reichelt’s conduct at the Board meeting was appalling to say the very least.
According to Chilliwack School District’s POLICY 130 TRUSTEE CODE OF CONDUCT Trustee Reichelt is in breach of the following sections:
Integrity and Dignity of Office
- Trustees will carry out their duties faithfully, diligently and in a manner that will inspire public confidence in the ability and integrity of the Board.
- Trustees will conduct themselves in an appropriate, professional, and respectful manner when carrying out their duties.
Civil Behaviour and Decorum
- Trustees will act with decorum and be respectful of other trustees, staff, students, partner groups and the public at all times.
- Trustees will not make remarks that disparage other members of the Board, employees of the district or recognized partner groups.
- Trustees will acknowledge the differing points of view of other Trustees, staff, students and the public and will endeavor to work with other Trustees and staff of the Board in a spirit of respect, openness, courtesy, and co-operation.
- Trustees will keep an open mind and base decisions upon all available facts.
Trustee Reichelt is also in violation of the professional standards. According to the BCSTA, “Trustees are elected to bring a diversity of opinions to boards of education. Critical to a well-functioning democracy is the ability to share these varying perspectives with respect and decorum while navigating difficult and complex issues.” The BCSTA further states that bullying is prohibited. Trustee Reichelt chaired the meeting like a dictator as she rudely censored, demeaned and bullied parents, concerned citizens and fellow board members, who were attempting to present information on legitimate matters of great concern. The recording of the school board meeting on February 8, 2023 provides clear evidence of this. Because this is not an isolated event Trustee Reichelt has lost the trust of the electorate and should be suspended or at the very least, removed as Board Chair.
On the BCSTA’s website they proclaim that, “A high-quality public education system is the foundation of a democratic society.” This is the standard by which the boards must function, democratically. They further state that School trustees must listen to their communities and that Boards are directly accountable to the people they serve.”
I look forward to the Boards immediate attention to this matter.