Anti-mask protesters set up outside schools in Kelowna

Anti-maskers target children

A group of anti-mask demonstrators set up Monday morning outside Rutland Middle and Senior Secondary schools.

Superintendent of Schools for the Central Okanagan Kevin Kaardal said the group carried anti-mask signs and were handing out pamphlets.

"I have no idea why they were there, we simply informed them they couldn't park on our property and they couldn't protest on our property." 

One mother who witnessed the protest told Castanet she was mortified to see 'anti-maskers' targeting children, "I was just so angry because these are children and they're basically telling them to be defiant."

"They had signs and a pulpit, they were passing out flyers to the kids. It wasn't random," Sandra Middleton said, adding she thought the school and teachers did a good job under the circumstances, but due to the way the protestors were set up, the kids had to walk directly past them in order to get to school.

"The police showed up and shuffled them down a bit. I agree with their right to protest but not to children," Middleton says.

Kaardal says he feels the kids were well behaved, "our kids were good. They understand that masks are absolutely useful in certain circumstances and they reduce the risk of spreading germs."

The protestors showed up at about 8:30 a.m. and remained at the two schools until 9:30 a.m.

Kaardal said the school has not communicated with parents about Monday's protest but, "if it becomes an issue where they're all of a sudden targeting schools, we'll consider some communication.

"It's disappointing, but people have a right to voice their opinion. We follow the advice we get from Dr. Bonnie Henry and the provincial health team."

It's unclear if this is the same group of protestors that has been making the rounds in Kelowna and elsewhere in the Okanagan in recent months.

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