Source: Facebook

British Columbia’s NDP government is considering new legislation that makes it illegal to demonstrate within 20 metres of school grounds to block gender identity curriculum protests.

Premier David Eby said that the Ministry of Education “has documented 18 major disruptions” of protests at schools in the province since the start of the 2023-24 school year, which he claims disrupt educational activities and intimidate students. 

“We’ve had people banging on school windows in British Columbia,” he said.

“It never crossed my mind to be worried that a grown adult would be waiting on the school perimeter to yell at my child about pornographic books or about puberty blockers,” added Eby.

Under the new law, anyone who blocks an entrance to school grounds, disrupts school activities or programs, or poses a concern to the mental or physical safety of students or staff within these zones will face arrest or ticketing.

“While everyone has a right to freedom of expression, disrupting or scaring kids while they’re learning in schools should be, and soon will be, illegal,” said Eby.

He said that the new legislation mirrors legislation implemented during the pandemic when citizens of the province started anti-vaccine protests outside of hospitals.

John Rustad, leader of the Conservative Party of British Columbia, said that the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity programs needed to be scrapped.

“The issue is around parental rights — parents being involved with their children’s education. The issue is around information that’s being provided within schools, which seems to be inappropriate in my opinion,” he said.

Parental rights groups opposed to the SOGI curriculum have expressed concerns about pornographic materials in school libraries and teachings that encourage minors to change their biological sex. Additionally, they worry about the fact that biological males who claim to be transgender women can enter female washrooms.

Attorney General Niki Sharma said that while protests serve as a crucial means for citizens to express their opinions and advocate for change, they should not compromise the safety of schools.

“This legislation provides an important tool to help safeguard our schools and protect kids from intimidation and harassment so they can feel safe to learn,” she said.

Rachna Singh, the Minister of Education and Child Care, said that the province wants to ensure that children can access the education needed to succeed. 

“This must be a priority, and we will take any action that is needed to help keep kids safe at school,” said Singh.

The B.C. School Trustees Association indicated its full support for the legislation.

“This is a significant step towards safeguarding the well-being of our students and staff, fostering an atmosphere where learning can thrive without disruption or intimidation,” said the association’s president, Carolyn Broady.

True North previously reported that on the day of the 1 Million March 4 Children last September, almost 100,000 students were absent from public schools in British Columbia.

The legislation has a sunset provision, scheduled to be repealed in July 2026.