A parent of children at Sardis Elementary has been banned from school property for allegedly intimidating other parents, protesting against pandemic restrictions and displaying a flag with a vulgar message to the prime minister that students could see.
Several parents expressed serious concern about Nicholas Epp’s behaviour, which also included offering to fight another parent who disagreed with his politics, according to the school’s principal.
A letter to Epp from principal Janine McCurdy, dated Feb. 7, addresses Epp’s several transgressions of section 177 of the School Act regarding disturbing or interrupting school proceedings.
“Your actions were intimidating and intended to be intimidating,” McCurdy wrote. “This conduct was disruptive to the operation of the school.”
Both Epp and his wife Dottie claim the issue is not about protesting but is about displaying Canadian flags. Dottie claimed in a video on social media, and in a voice message to The Progress, they brought flags to the school in support of Olympic athletes.
In addition to the Trudeau flag the Epps displayed on one vehicle, there were decals on a second vehicle in the school parking with the words: “Support our truckers. Stand for our freedom. Protect our kids.”
Senior school board staff and the RCMP have been involved in dealing with recent parental behaviour, which culminated in a Tuesday arrest for mischief of another man while he was dropping his kids off at school.
|A still of a video of a man being handcuffed by an RCMP officer on Sardis Elementary school grounds on Feb. 8, 2022 a day after another school parent was banned from school property for repeatedly protesting. (Facebook)
Sardis Elementary school parent Kate Kloos said she was bothered by the Epps’ behaviour and that of other parents who were allegedly banging on school windows on Thursday (Feb. 4) protesting. She is also not happy with the communication to the parents about the disruptive behaviour.
“While the ability to protest and voice dissent is a privilege all Canadians enjoy, the affiliation of this protest nationally to racism is deeply disturbing,” Kloos told The Progress.
“It’s clear that schools are not the appropriate venue, period. I would have liked to see more transparent communication that this had been happening over the course of the week, and would like to be reassured that this protest is unwelcomed at schools. I can appreciate the difficult position the school’s administration was in, with the protestors being parents of students, and I thank them for their work to minimize the impact to students and families.”
The three-page letter to Epp gives a timeline of his disruptive behaviour between Feb. 3 and 7, and also his ongoing refusal to wear a mask while in the school foyer and in his daughter’s classroom.
In an email to parents, the principal explained how some members of the school community were expressing their beliefs by carrying flags outside the school.
“The school board office and the RCMP are aware of this and what is happening is being closely monitored. Our priority continues to be to keep our community safe.”
While Dottie Epp left a voicemail regarding her perspective on the flags, Nick told The Progress they have no comment.
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