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

Osoyoos chef Murray McDonald was ecstatic upon realizing he scored the $1 million guaranteed prize in the June 2, 2021 Lotto 6/49 draw. (Contributed)
Osoyoos chef ecstatic after bagging $1 million Lotto 6/49 win

B.C. lottery players have redeemed more than $44 million in winnings from Lotto 6/49 this year

People at the beach in front of Discovery Bay Resort on Tuesday, July 14. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Heat wave forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures are forecast to hit record breaking highs this week

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
UPDATE: Two churches on band land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Asia Youngman (right) is pictured shooting another short film she wrote and directed titled Hatha. (Luba Popovic)
Peachland set to star in fantasy thriller film about N’xaxaitk’w — a.k.a. the Ogopogo

The film will follow an Indigenous teen as she navigates peer pressure, bullying and identity

The Crofton trailer park home where the bodies of two people were found. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Kelowna mom still waiting for answers after daughter and her fiance found dead

Pair discovered in their Vancouver Island home in May identified as Rachel Gardner and Paul Jenkins

Tony Costa/ Facebook
UPDATE: Out-of-control fire burning above Peachland

The blaze sparked on Sunday and is believed to be lightning caused

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Most Read