Qualicum school board explicitly supports students protesting

Motion carried to support peaceful protest engagement as part of learning experience

Students from a Washington state high school walk out of class in protest against gun violence following a deadly shooting at a Florida school in February. The Qualicum school board recently voted in favour of supporting students who choose to protest peacefully, noting that some students in the United States had suffered punishment from their schools for such actions. — File Photo

Parksville Qualicum Beach’s school board now explicitly supports student efforts to protest peacefully “as part of their learning experience,” after a motion passed 4-1 Tuesday, June 26.

The motion, brought forward by Trustee Jacob Gair, was in reaction to students in the United States who, following protests with regards to the Parkland shooting in Florida on Feb. 14, suffered repercussions due to their involvement.

While some students saw support from their schools, others were told that their involvement in protests amounted to skipping class, said Gair. Some students were punished beyond what their school district’s policies allow, he said.

The motion was meant to ensure that School District 69 (Qualicum) allows for students to exercise their right to peaceful assembly when it comes to protests without fear of reprisal by their school or school district, said Gair.

“I’m absolutely not in support of this motion,” said Trustee Barrie Kurland.

He noted that, while he’s in support of students protesting, having taken part in protests before, he said choosing to protest is a personal decision that can, in some cases, include going to jail, even at a peaceful protest. That is a personal decision, he said, and doesn’t need the support of the board.

He also said that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects a person’s right to protest peacefully, so the school board need not state its support.

“I don’t think it’s our job,” he said.

He also voiced concern that being explicitly in support of students protesting could lead to legal trouble for the district, and asked what happens if students are protesting something the board is in favour of, such as support for LGBTQ students.

Gair said he feels his proposed motion is even more important in cases where students are at odds with the board or administration.

Trustees Elaine Young and Julie Austin said they would support the motion, with Young saying, “I don’t think it hurts to support this motion,” and Austin saying, “I don’t think you can say it (your support for peaceful protest) enough… I think it’s a good time to say it.”

The motion, that the board “support the efforts of students to engage in peaceful protest on issues of importance to them as part of their learning experience” passed, with Kurland voting against it.

Just Posted

‘Every day is a new feeling’: Jackie Bates adjusts to her new life, and new lungs

Ladysmith woman’s life has changed for the better since receiving a double lung transplant on July 15

How the pandemic ushered in a marketing evolution at a B.C. aquaculture firm

For Grieg Seafood BC it meant pivoting fish to parallel markets without halting production

Kayaking the Johnstone Strait

An unpredictable delight for local travelers

Body discovered floating in water near Lasqueti Island

JRCC reports fishing vessel personnel made the find on Saturday, Sept. 19

Patrick brothers pioneered hockey and tried, but failed, to remove violence

New history thesis shows their efforts to sell a “clean game” in Oak Bay

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Water supplies declared safe in wake of major tire fire near Ladysmith

Concerns about water quality arose after Sept. 10 scrap yard fire at Schnitzer near Nanaimo Airport

Hundreds march against location of Duncan safe injection site

A Voice for Our Children opposes centre being near schools, recreation sites

Suspect robs store, stabs clerk in Courtenay

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for suspect in Ryan Road incident

Metchosin inmate sentenced to 12 months in jail for escaping custody

Sentence to be served concurrent to a life sentence he was already serving

Most Read