Police break up “reopen schools” protest in Aylmer

·1 min read

More than 30 people showed up to a protest outside East Elgin Secondary School, with the goal to reopen schools, on Monday morning, April 19.

The crowd was a mix of children, EESS students, and parents, none of which appeared to wear face masks or physically distance. Some held up homemade signs that read “Our Children Deserve Better,” “Education is Essential,” and “We Say NO to Online Learning.”

Angela McCandless, a parent of two children who attend EESS, organized the protest through Facebook. “I thought it was going to be just two people, and it’s over 30,” she told the Express.

“We want schools open. For my personal reasons, it’s for my kid’s mental health. I’m concerned about them not being socially developed properly.”

The Thames Valley District School Board announced last week that in-person learning would not resume across the province after spring break, at the instruction of the Ontario government due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, school would be administered to students through online learning, as had been done during a lockdown earlier this year.

Ms. McCandless added she was concerned about teachers losing their jobs.

Aylmer Police Chief Zvonko Horvat said officers responded to the incident that morning.

“Police spoke to the group, issued a warning and crowd dispersed. Police do have an option to charge with failing to comply with Emergency Orders,” he said. “This time, police used a measured response and felt warning was appropriate action which resulted in compliance.”

Veronica Reiner, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Aylmer Express