Anti-vax protestors temporarily halt school board meeting

BlackburnNews.com File Photo of the Thames Valley District School Board office.

A Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) meeting was disrupted by anti-vaccination protestors on Tuesday night.

Trustees had gathered at the One World Thames Valley International Welcome Centre, next to Louise Arbour Public School for the meeting after a fire at the board office on Dundas Street last week left the building without power.

Shortly after the meeting began, dozens of protestors could be heard shouting from outside. Many in the rowdy group carried signs that read “no mandatory vax for our kids”, “hands off our children”, and “you educate, I’ll parent.” The noise became so disruptive trustees were forced to pause the meeting until police were able to calm the situation.

“My apologies for the interruption,” TVDSB Director of Education Mark Fisher said when the meeting resumed about 20 minutes later.

In the lead up to Tuesday’s meeting, anti-vaccination protestors had been posting messages on social media claiming the school board was trying to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for students.

“This is false information,” said Fisher. “The board has no authority to mandate student COVID-19 vaccinations and was never part of the agenda.”

What trustees were actually discussing was a motion to send a letter to provincial health officials to consider adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of compulsory vaccinations for all students. Ultimately, that motion was withdrawn.

“It is my understanding that the chief medical officer of health is currently reviewing this issue, and the Ontario Public School Board Association will advocate on behalf of all boards. Thus, I withdrew the motion,” said Trustee Corrine Rahman.

Fisher has called Tuesday’s protest “disturbing.”

London police have confirmed officers were on hand to “keep the peace” and no charges were laid.