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

Maple Ridge Bears posted “big bear hugs” to everyone who has worked toward better co-existence this year. (Facebook)
Ten fewer bears have been shot in Maple Ridge

Conservation group celebrating success this year

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, and Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson wear face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 during campaign stops. A provincial election will be held in B.C. on Oct. 24. The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck
Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows voters have been wooed by parties

In the last day for advance polls, there’s strong voter turnout reported ahead of Saturday’s election

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A giant pumpkin is rolled onto the scale to be weighed. (Steve and Pascale Shaw/Special to The News)
Pumpkin weighing 197 kilograms takes first place in Maple Ridge contest

Trevor Halliday wins second annual Whonnock Giant Pumpkin contest.

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

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

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Officers with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were at a White Rock home Tuesday (Oct. 20) to assist Vancouver Police Department with execution of a search warrant. (Contributed photo)
ERT, VPD response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

Most Read