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

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)

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

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

The Desert Daze Music Festival is doggone good fun, as shown in this photo from the 2019 festival, and it will be back in Spences Bridge this September. (Photo credit: Barbara Roden)
‘Best Little Fest in the West’ returning to Spences Bridge

Belated 10th anniversary Desert Daze festival going ahead with music, vendors, workshops, and more

Internet speed graphic, no date. Photo credit: Pixabay
Study asks for public input to show actual internet speeds in B.C. communities

Federal maps showing Internet speeds might be inflated, so communities lose out on faster Internet

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read