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New protection for students welcomed

Legislation to curb protests at schools is needed in a changing world

New provincial legislation has been proposed that would protect students from disruptive behaviour on school grounds, including protests.

To some, that may seem unnecessary. A press release from the NDP government said the legislation is indeed necessary due to “aggressive protests” that have taken place on school grounds.

While protesting is a right that this country holds near and dear to our collective hearts, the safety of children has rightfully been deemed more important.

When aggressive protests happen on school grounds, or in the school itself – as what occurred in Salmon Arm in September 2021 (an incident that resulted in the school being put on hold and secure) – it can cause students and staff to feel unsafe, physically and mentally. The intimidation and harassment that can come from aggressive protests ends up in the laps of children, instead of the decision makers who protesters are meaning to address.

So, if enacted, the new law will allow police to issue tickets to, or arrest, anyone found impeding access, disrupting educational activities, or attempting to intimidate an individual within 20 metres (66 feet) of school grounds.

The proposed piece of legislation is supported by the BC School Trustees Association, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Education and Child Care.

It’s also just one move that this government has made to try to protect students’ health and safety. They’ve also had to take action to protect children from online harassment, hold social media companies accountable for harm they’ve caused, and launch services to remove images from the internet, as well as pursue predators.

When taken together, these changes help illustrate the harm that adults are placing in front of children. And as hard as it is to fathom that they are needed, they are welcome changes for a changing world.

– Black Press