A small group of anti-mask protesters gathered on the sidewalk near Rutland Middle School and Rutland Senior Secondary on Monday, Oct. 5. (Contributed)

Anti-mask protest at Kelowna schools ‘disappointing,’ says superintendent

‘We live in a country where people have a right to free speech — that’s why we educate them’ - SD23 superintendent

Two Kelowna grade schools were the target of protests by anti-maskers on Monday morning.

Witnesses of the small early morning demonstration outside of Rutland Senior Secondary and Rutland Middle School said the half-dozen protesters were handing out leaflets that contained claims of the ineffectiveness of masks against the COVID-19 virus — contrary to the advice of health officials. A sign was also propped up by the protesters calling to ‘defund mainstream media’ naming a number of local and national news organizations.

A sign, put up by the protesters, calling to ‘defund mainstream media.’ (Contributed)

School District 23 superintendent Kevin Kaardal said he was “disappointed” about the demonstration taking place in front of the schools but says his students are educated about the value of masks.

“We live in a country where people have a right to free speech — that’s why we educate them,” Kaardal said, adding the district has several safety measures in place, including mandatory masking in certain areas, and supports the advice given by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

“We’re disappointed if they’re wanting to come to schools to (protest) but if they’re on public property I guess they can do that as long as they don’t interrupt the operations of schools.

“I have a lot of faith in our students.”

Kaardal said there was limited interaction between students and protesters and principals from both schools were outside ensuring the safety of the students as the demonstration progressed.

The RCMP was called to the scene when the demonstration began as it was initially on school property.

“Officers attended and requested that the group conduct their demonstration on the sidewalk. The group complied with the request and moved to the sidewalk to prevent further disruption of school activities,” said Const. Solana Paré of the Kelowna RCMP.

“The RCMP is here to uphold the law, maintain the public peace and ensure safety for all parties, including the protesters.”

The demonstration went on for about an hour around 8:30 a.m., as many students were arriving at school.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan Public Schools thanks educators on World Teacher’s Day

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusSchools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

File
Cooperation needed so minority Parliament can function smoothly

“We will continue to work with the other parties to get answers … ”

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Some amendments have been made to the bylaw since it passed first reading. File photo
Second public hearing set for Rossland chicken bylaw

Amended bylaw would now require electric fencing to be put around yards with chickens

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Headlamps 101

Few drivers get their vehicle headlamps aimed, yet this is important

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read