COURTENAY, B.C- Terence Purden is no longer pursuing a schoolboard seat for the Comox Valley.

Purden had been running in Area C against Ian Hargreaves, a current board trustee for School District 71 and vice-chair. He was also listed as one of multiple candidates opposed to British Columbia’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) teaching materials, one of 38 running across the province.

On Wednesday evening, trustee candidates for the Comox Valley’s school district met for a forum at GP Vanier. Prior to the start of the forum, a brief message from Purden was read out to the attendees as Purden was not present.

According to the statement, Purden has decided that the other candidate (Hargreaves) is the “best man to represent Area C”. He expressed regret that he was unable to remove his name from the ballot, and said he would not be actively running and was “not prepared to handle the role of trustee” in School District 71.

His name will be staying on the ballot, because it’s too late to be removed.

Hargreaves said he was disappointed for Purden, given that he made the decision to run and then didn’t follow through. However, he did appreciate the support.

“I appreciate that he looked into who I was and asked other teachers around about,” said Hargreaves.

“I’m hopeful that his statement that he made gets out to the public, at large. That way, we don’t run the risk of running a by-election, because a by-election comes out of the cost to the district, comes out of our monies, and that takes away from students.”

He didn’t know the exact cost of a by-election if one came around, though he said it was uncertain if Purden could accept a seat on the board if elected after his announcement.

Hargreaves is also in support of SOGI in School District 71, which has been in place since 2010.

“He (Purden) would be fighting against something that has already been proven to be useful for students and staff in this district,” said Hargreaves.

“It’s a safety aspect, it’s a human rights issue, and to try and change that, it would be detrimental to him, for sure. You’re one member of a board. One issue? And that’s it? That’s unworkable.”

A request for comment will be extended to Purden.