Dear Editor:

Everyone in the Columbia Valley knows you don’t mess with a mama bear, especially when she is protecting her cubs!

On Monday, Sept. 20, at J.A. Laird, and continuing throughout the week in the Valley at the other schools, there are “Pop up” COVID-19 vaccine clinics that require no parental consent! This last part is what parents and caretakers are feeling so uncomfortable with.

The amount of consent forms a parent signs in a school year is countless. We are signing consent forms for every field trip, extra curricular activity, bus ride, friendship group, counsellors, etc., and I appreciate this! But why no consent form now, and on such an emotionally charged topic in our world at the moment. 

To me, this is a confirmation that the school is not behind this very peculiar, rule bending decision to allow children 12 years and older to consent to a vaccine on school grounds during school time… The Principals in our area should be honoured for their courageous attempt in sending out the first email stating parental consent was necessary. The next day the email was revoked. It came back stating parental consent was not necessary!

As parents, we will do whatever we have to to protect our children. Let’s be clear; this is not about vaccines. Yes, that should be your personal choice! This is simply about the fact that our children cannot consent to this! Certainly not a 12-year-old! School is not the time or place to administer vaccines without parental consent! 

The Infant Act has its place when a child is in danger, and it is used ethically! It is clearly not being used ethically in this situation. Lowering the vaccine age is happening. If they can bend it now for a 12-year-old, why not do the same for our younger children? This is very concerning.

The community has started a petition. We are calling and emailing Interior Health, our MLA, Ministry of Health, Superintendents, Bonnie Henry, local Mayors, keeping our children home from school on clinic days and letting the school respectfully know why.

With big challenges come big change, so hold on, be strong and let’s ride this wave out together for our children’s future!

With deep respect for this community in which I reside, raise my children and run my business,

Shilo Cameron, Invermere