Vaccine opponents entered B.C. schools for 'completely unacceptable' protests, officials say

Anti-vaccine protesters allegedly entered multiple schools in B.C.'s Shuswap region Friday, prompting strong words from district officials.

Social media posts suggest the vaccine opponents were there to protest pop-up vaccination clinics held on school grounds.

One anti-vaccine activist complained on Facebook about eligible youths being given the chance to get protected against COVID-19 against their parents' objections.

"We are to discuss the procedures of inoculation of our children with those that will be administering the shot," he wrote before the protests.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been clear for months that youths between the ages of 12 and 17 can make up their own minds about vaccination. B.C.'s Infants Acts allows minors to make their own informed medical decisions, with the support of health-care workers.

The North Okanagan-Shuswap School District said there have been a number of recent protests from people opposed to vaccines and mask rules, but that Friday's demonstration went too far.

"This morning these protesters did something which was completely unacceptable, which was choosing to enter schools in and around Salmon Arm," superintendent Donna Kriger said in a news release.

As a result, a number of schools were placed under hold and secure protocols for the remainder of the school day, meaning that students were not allowed to enter or leave the building.

The situation left some local parents fuming.

"Seriously? Protest all you want but pick the right place and where my child is learning is not it," one parent wrote on Twitter Friday.

The district said it plans to lock the entrances to all local schools on Monday while classes are in session, and asked parents who need to get inside to notify the office.

"Please know that the intent of our actions is to maintain environments which are safe for all students and staff. Thank you for your support and understanding," Kriger said.