Canadian high school calls police over student who refused to wear COVID mask
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STETTLER, Alberta, September 4, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian school called the police on a Grade 12 student who refused to wear a mask. The incident resulted in the student vacating the school on his own accord without a police escort.
The incident occurred at Wm E Hay Stettler Secondary Campus, located in the Central Alberta town of Stettler this Wednesday. It was made public knowledge after Sabrina Wedlund, the student’s mother, who has five kids and runs a dairy farm with her husband, published a Facebook post of the incident.
“I am so proud of you Jordan Wedlund. He walked into the Stettler High School this morning refusing to wear a mask and said he was here to get a education and was going to his class. Masks don’t do anything. The staff argued with him for a few minutes and then decided to phone the RCMP to escort him out of the school,” wrote Wedlund in a September 2 Facebook post.
LifeSiteNews reached out to Wedlund to ask her about her views of the incident and was the first media outlet to speak directly to her about the confrontation.
She told LifeSiteNews that after her 17-year-old son refused to wear a mask, police were called to the school but that he left the building without a police escort.
According to Wedlund, on September 2, which was her son’s first day of classes, he walked up to the door and was asked by school administrators where his mask was, to which he replied, “I don’t have one. I don’t want one.”
Wedlund told LifeSiteNews that her son was offered a mask, but he refused, saying, “I’m here to get an education, I’m going to my class.” It was at this point, Wedlund said, that her son walked straight toward his class.
At this point, Wedlund told LifeSiteNews that her son “got about a few feet into the door” before the principal and other staff members told him he had to put a mask on per the rules. He refused and was told to go to the principal’s office.
“He can be a little cheeky sometimes, but he basically said [to the principal] you’ve got 15 minutes to state your case or I get up and I go out of here and go to class,” Wedlund told LifeSiteNews, after which she said the principal reminded her son about the mask rules.
Wedlund said her son told the principal, “You know what? I’m not scared of COVID. I’m healthy. I’m fine. If you are scared of it, you wear a mask. You protect yourself if that is what you feel is right, but I have my right not to wear one.”
According to Wedlund, her son got up and walked out the door and went to find his classroom. At this point, he realized that the school administration “may have said something about calling the RCMP.”
Wedlund said her husband was in the parking lot and could hear what was going on, as her son had put his phone on speaker. She said a member of the local RCMP showed up at the school.
Wedlund said her son asked the school for a “letter of rejection” before he would leave the school.
According to Wedlund, a staff member asked her son if he needed “a member of the RCMP to follow you out,” to which she said her son replied, “No I don’t. I will leave on my own, but I want my letter.”
Wedlund’s son was eventually given the letter.
“The RCMP member followed him to the front door to make sure he was out the door,” Wedlund told LIfeSiteNews.
LifeSiteNews confirmed with the local Stettler RCMP detachment that the police did receive a call from the school but that the officer on site had no dealings with the student.
“One of our officers went over, had no dealings with the student at all, didn’t come in contact with the student, didn’t speak to their parents, nothing,” said Sgt. Tim Gaultois, detachment commander with the Stettler RCMP, to LifeSiteNews.
Gaultois told LifeSiteNews that the RCMP officer did speak with the school principal and was simply responding to a call from the school. He also stressed that as per normal every year, the RCMP will have a presence at the school with a liaison.
LifeSiteNews contacted the school’s principal and the school board, Clearview Public Schools, to confirm details about the incident.
Associate superintendent, business and finance, for the school division Peter Neale replied confirming to LifeSiteNews that the incident with Wedlund’s son did occur. Neale said the RCMP did not “have involvement” with her son.
“Where a student refuses to wear a mask and where age-appropriate, the legal guardian will be asked to pick up the student from the school. Where a student or staff member requires accommodation to the need to wear a mask due to physical, medical, or mental health considerations, these accommodations are provided. This process was followed involving a Grade 12 student on Wednesday, September 2,” Neale told LifeSiteNews.
“In the event that any person refuses to leave school property by request of the school principal in accordance with Education Act s.197(f) and Education Act s.256, the student (if age-appropriate) and the legal guardian would be informed that RCMP may be requested for supports. The RCMP did not have involvement with the Grade 12 student on Wednesday.”
The Alberta government has mandated that masks be worn for students in Grades 4 to 12 as part of their return to school safety measures. Many Alberta school boards have mandated masks for all grades, however. Each student on his first day of classes will receive two masks each.
Clearview Public Schools’ re-entry guidelines for the 2020–21 school year mandates masks per Alberta government regulations only but says students are not required to wear a mask while “seated in the classroom during instruction if following the physical distancing guidance for schools.”
“Masks are required in the classroom when close contact between students, or students and staff, is occurring. Masks should be used for the duration of this activity. Exemptions will be made for students and staff who are unable to wear a mask due to medical or other needs,” read Clearview’s mask guidelines.
Wedlund said she got a phone call from her local Alberta member of the Legislature (MLA), Nate Horner, from the United Conservative Party, and that she had a good conversation with him about the incident.
Wedlund stressed to LifeSiteNews that she and her son do not have issues with the teachers of the school.
“My husband said to our kids a couple of days ago that this is not a fight against your teachers. This isn’t you building a battle. ... We’re not here to fight you; we want you to be on our side,” said Wedlund.
Steve Jalsevac, LifeSiteNews co-founder and managing director, said in a recent blog that the increase in mandatory masking is driven not by science, but by fear and is a change from what “health experts” were saying earlier on.