Published: February 7, 2022
After massive backlash erupted on social media last Thursday over a mask protest by students at a Bowden School, Alberta’s Education Minister has called on students to stop the protests.
“While all Canadians have a right to protest and express themselves, protests must be peaceful and within the confines of the law,” said Minister Adriana LaGrange in a statement provided to the Western Standard.
“Schools are not an appropriate place to protest public health measures, as this only serves to disrupt the education of Alberta students. Furthermore, unauthorized trespass on school property is unlawful.”
In the statement, LaGrange encouraged anyone who has “chosen to disrupt the learning environment at any Alberta school to cease immediately,” and suggested local authorities have been advised to take action to “ensure a safe and peaceful” workplace and learning environment for students, teachers and staff.
A mask protest at the K – Grade 12 Bowden Grandview School began with four students last Tuesday and grew to more than a dozen students by Thursday.
On Wednesday and Thursday, students participating in the mask protest were asked to leave the school but refused and were sent to the school’s boot room both days where students reported temperatures at times reached 30C and above.
Outraged parents and students took to social media on Thursday to bring awareness to the ordeal which led to a backlash of negative attention for the school.
Reports of threatening messages to the school’s principal Jeff Thompson and other teachers — and on the advice of RCMP — prompted a decision by school officials to resort to online learning for the students and teachers for Friday and Monday while the school determined “next steps.”
Thompson sent a letter to parents on Thursday advising them of the school’s decision and said an update would be provided to parents on Monday.
Chinook’s Edge School Division, Superintendent for Schools Kurt Sacher on Friday told the Western Standard the students were “well-cared for” and “in good spirits” when he checked in with them in the boot room on Thursday.