Community residents gathered outside Wilde Lake High and Middle schools in Columbia Monday afternoon to counteract a group of abortion rights opponents.
As students were dismissed, the abortion opponents protested on a public sidewalk near the schools carrying graphic anti-abortion signs. The community residents used blankets and umbrellas to try to hide the signs from students.
The abortion rights opponents were not permitted on the campus during the school day and there was security in place to make sure they remained off campus, according to a school system spokesperson.
Police officers were also on site and all protest activity was lawful, according to the Howard County Police Department. Police said they did not know with whom the anti-abortion protesters were affiliated.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released a statement condemning the protest at Wilde Lake and indicating there was a similar demonstration at Howard Community College.
“I’m disgusted by tactics of abortion opponents who are deliberately and needlessly subjecting our students to graphic images with the intent of shock,” Ball said in a statement. “While I respect the rights of those who want to express opinions on critical topics, the scenes we saw today at Wilde Lake High School and Middle School and Howard Community College are not designed to inform. They are designed to drive wedges in our community, and we shouldn’t let that happen.”