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

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Whiskey Creek gas station destroyed by fire after camper van explosion

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

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

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Most Read