Kelowna students might learn from anti-maskers, but not what they intended | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna students might learn from anti-maskers, but not what they intended

Image Credit: Stephanie Ross
October 07, 2020 - 6:30 AM

An anti-mask protest near two Kelowna schools yesterday could spark conversations among students about the broader issues of why we follow any rules or laws at all.

That, at least, is one thought that went through Board of Education chair Moyra Baxter’s head after anti-mask pamphlets were handed to students heading into Rutland middle and senior secondary schools for morning classes yesterday, Oct. 5.

“One could argue: why do you stop for a red light if you don’t need to?” she said to “If you look and go, ‘I can safely get across’ why do you stop there until it goes green? There are lots of things we do that are rules. Most of us put our seat belts on because that’s the law.

“I know it’s not a law that you wear a mask but clearly it’s been stated that we should in certain circumstances. As far as students in schools, in certain grades, they’ve been told they need to wear masks.”

Secondary and senior school students are told to wear masks on busses and in hallways where safe distancing can’t be practiced.

The protesters handed out a leaflet saying things like “Forced Masking Violates our Charter Rights and Freedoms” and “The Evidence Does Not Support Masking.”

The leaflet contained the logo for Vaccine Choice Canada.

READ MORE: Anti-maskers target Kelowna school children

Students are exempted from wearing masks if they have a doctor’s note about medical conditions but Baxter doesn’t know if any School District 23 students have such notes.

Baxter hasn’t heard of any further demonstrations at other schools. Nor has she heard of any students resisting the mask wearing rules in the schools.

“I think most students at a certain age will think about this and think about other things that we do that we’re told to do,” she said. “We don’t say it’s bullying. We say it's sensible advice.”

While the demonstrators originally were on school property, they were free to continue their protest once they had moved to the City-owned sidewalk.

Such demonstrations are highly unusual outside Central Okanagan schools, although right to life protesters used to carry signs from time to time at some schools but have not done so for awhile, Baxter said.

“We make sure they don’t come onto school property and we ask them not to harass students,” Baxter said. “We live in free society and have free speech.”

Some parents were concerned about the lack of social distancing by yesterday’s protesters, she said, but staff did a good job of keeping the students safe.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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