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Central Okanagan school superintendent was threatened by far-right groups

Anti-SOGI protests in Stuart Park, Kelowna.

As far right activists continue to escalate their campaigns against local school boards, Central Okanagan School District superintendent Kevin Kaardal said he has received violent threats from anti-SOGI campaigners.

School districts throughout the Okanagan — and B.C. in general — have been intimidated at public meetings and bullied by the loose group with ties to Action4Canada.

Kaardal has long been on their radar. Not shy about their threat, they posted it in a press release.

On its website, Action4Canada published a letter written to the Central Okanagan School District claiming they have reason to believe children are being “abused or neglected” because they are being exposed to “pornographic” content in school libraries.

However, it seems a letter to the school board was not enough to get the message across. Protesters also took to distributing posters and staging protests on school grounds earlier in the year.

In April, multiple Action4Canada protesters gathered on school grounds to perform a group prayer.

“I had to ask them to leave and do their prayer off our property,” Kaardal said. “They (also) distribute pamphlets that are inaccurate around school property and offend parents.”

After the prayer protest, the group published a press release to its website.

In the release, Action4Canada claim that, several days after the protest, the wall outside Kaardal’s office building crumbled. This, the group said, was an act of God.

“It is amazing that God chose Mr. Kaardal’s wall to come tumbling down. We look forward with anticipation to see what the Lord has planned for School District 23 under the leadership of Mr. Kaardal,” Action4Canada said in its press release. “God does not take causing harm to children lightly. In fact in Luke 17:2 God says, It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."

With his lawyer, Kaaral sent a letter to the organization asking them to cease making unfounded and defamatory statements about Kaardal, his staff and the school district.

The group were also asked to refrain from making more threatening comments in their future press releases.

In the letter, Kaardal’s lawyer said that the quote from Luke 17:2 used in the press release, “explicitly condones physical violence against Superintendent Kaardal.”

“They vilify me quite a bit,” Kaardal told iNFOnews.ca.

In response, Action4Canada published the letter to its website. They have not released a statement to suggest that the harmful comments or defamatory statements will stop.

Action4Canada and their far-right fringe associates have been gaining traction on social media since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, their claims about perverse school curriculums and materials as well as conspiracies surrounding the pandemic, have led to a steadily increasing number of protests in the Okanagan region.

On May 31, Action4Canada advocates confronted parents who were waiting in their vehicles to pick up their children near Chute Lake Elementary School.

The protesters made allegations about "pornographic" library materials and they specifically targeted gay and trans families.

READ MORE: Kelowna schools being targeted by gay/trans bashing protesters

Action4Canada protesters also made themselves known in a School District 23 board meeting this year.

On Feb. 22, three female advocates spoke out in opposition of SOGI123. They stated concerns about inappropriate school material and made claims of “sexual indoctrination.”

READ MORE: Anti-SOGI protestors disrupt Central Okanagan school board meeting

In April, former Vernon school trustee candidate, Jewlie Rose Milligan, took legal action against School District 22 after she was issued a no-trespass order.

The no-trespass order was sent out after Milligan distributed among school staff members a notice of liability written by Action4Canada. The notice made claims of “pornographic books and radical LGBTQ learning resources.”

Milligan was also accused of attending school board meetings and engaging in intimidating behaviour towards staff.

READ MORE: Right wing Vernon school trustee candidate issued no-trespass order is now suing

Over time, protesters have become increasingly vocal and blatant in their campaigns, with organized meetings such as the “1MillionMarch4Children” attracting hundreds of supporters in Kelowna alone this summer.

READ MORE: 'No place for hate': Anti-LGBTQ+ protesters met with vocal counter demonstrators in Kelowna, Kamloops

The frequency and attention drawn to these protests are concerning for Kaardal who said it would be better if less attention was given to them.

"What bothers me or concerns me is then young people who identify as LGBTQ2SIA+ person or questioning or wondering, can literally be harmed by all this attention," Kaardal said. "There's a freedom that's protected under human rights around the freedom of religion to practice your religion, but it is not a freedom to impose it on others."

The complaints being made by Action4Canada do not reflect the reality of the School District’s practices or their standards of teaching, Kaardal said.

“We've been doing this work an awful long time, we have not had any specific complaints of any wrongdoing,” said Kaardal. “We support student safety and want students to grow and flourish in a healthy environment.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Georgina Whitehouse or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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