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

Saanich police are warning residents that rutting season has begun and deer may get their antlers tangled in items left in yards. (Saanich Police Department/Twitter)
Deer with items tangled in antlers spotted in Saanich as rutting season begins

Police, B.C. Conservation Service warn of possibly aggressive bucks through fall

Police will be diverting traffic between Island View Road and Amity Drive from 12 to 1 p.m. Oct. 23. (Google Maps)
Section of Pat Bay Highway closes for Mi’kmaq fishing rights demonstration

Police will be diverting traffic Oct. 23 from noon to 1 p.m between Island View Road and Amity Drive

Oulette the Great Horned owl was spotted alive just days after her mate, Ollie, was found dead from suspected rat poisoning on Oct. 17. (Photo by Cheryl Redhead)
Great Horned owl mate found alive in Cuthbert Holmes Park

Oulette spotted in tree above where male Ollie died of suspected poisoning

Saanich firefighters were called out to Hartland Road on Oct. 21 to help transport a mountain biker with neck and back injuries out of the woods. (Black Press Media file photo)
Patient with neck, back injuries rescued from Saanich bike trails

Saanich firefighters called in to help paramedics with transportation off Mount Work

Saanich South Liberal candidate Rishi Sharma commits to addressing issues at the five-way intersection of Interurban and Wilkinson roads in partnership with the municipality if elected. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich South Liberal candidate commits to improving Interurban/Wilkinson intersection

‘Confusing five-way intersection,’ needs attention, Rishi Sharma says

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
Our Home on 8th, the Port Alberni Shelter that opened in March 2019, has 27 extra ‘extreme weather’ spaces for people who need a place to get out of the cold. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
BC VOTES 2020: Mid-Island candidate plans occupation of shelter to protest homelessness

Graham Hughes says homeless situation a ‘crisis’ in Port Alberni

Parksville’s Jared Huggan won $75,000 playing BC/49. (BCLC/Photo submitted)
Vancouver Island man $75K richer after purchasing winning lottery ticket at Nanaimo Walmart

Parksville’s Huggan plans to purchase electric bike for partner

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island this week

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter. Photo supplied
Wanted man from Calgary may be on Vancouver Island

Jordan Jay Ward is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for two counts of manslaughter

FILE – A voting package for the 2018 electoral reform referendum. Vote-by-mail packages for the 2020 provincial election will look similar, according to information provided by Elections BC. (Katya Slepian - Black Press Media)
POLL: Have you voted yet?

As election day quickly approaches, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians have… Continue reading

Most Read