CALGARY (660 NEWS) – City Council has passed an amendment to a bylaw that will restrict advocacy messaging on public property near schools.
The amendment primarily targets anti-abortion groups who have been seen displaying their messages and signs near schools.
A video which surfaced on social media in March 2019 brought attention to the issue.
It shows a small group of protesters holding graphic abortion pictures outside of Queen Elizabeth High School.
Troubling incident @ QE School Wed . Anti-abortion protesters showed up @ lunch hour w/ disturbing placards. I would encourage @AlbertaParty 2 ensure schools have a 'safe zone' similar to abortion clinics. I have permission to share this video. #ableg #abpoli #FiercelyAlbertan pic.twitter.com/TmVIsq1fbL
— Angela Kokott (@angelakokott4AB) March 14, 2019
Feedback from Calgary schools describes signs like these are having a serious and negative impact on vulnerable students, in addition to the well being and safety of students and teachers.
“Students deserve the ability to be able to engage with the world and engage in difficult discussions without feeling forced or uncomfortable,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
For over a year there have been calls for more restrictions around campaigns on public property near schools in the city.
The city bylaw will limit the signage to five inches by three-and-a-half inches if you’re within 150 metres of school property.
Anyone breaking these rules faces a fine of $1,000.
“No one is saying you can’t say these things no one is saying you can’t hold these beliefs, no one is even saying you can’t convince others of these,” said Nenshi.
“What we are saying is huge graphic posters confronting students as they go in and out of school and the excuse of well they can use another exit is just not right.”
The bylaw will operate on a complaint basis and anyone with concerns over groups breaking the bylaw to call 311.