California teachers, parents, and students took part in a series of walkouts across Southern California to protest against Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s vaccine mandate for teachers and students.
Newsom is requiring all eligible children to receive the Covid-19 vaccination in order to attend classes in-person. School staff who are unvaccinated without an authorized exemption will have their employment terminated.
On Monday, a crowd of 2,000 teachers, students, and parents walked out of schools and onto the California State Capitol lawn in Sacramento to protest the vaccine mandate.
“I’m not going to let anyone tell me how to parent my child,” said parent Michael Zanone.
“I’m a mother of three, and this is not the type of future that I want for my kids,” Roxanne Sandoval, a California parent, told CBS 13.
In San Dimas, protestors marched outside the Bonita Unified School District Building in objection to the vaccine mandate. “I have personally been vaccinated. Half of my family has, half has not. But again, freedom of choice,” school teacher Carol Wilkerson Runge stated.
Hundreds of protestors showed up at Pier Plaza at Huntington Beach as a part of the statewide school walkout.
“My son, if they mandate [the vaccine] in January, is he not going to graduate?” said Lora Irwin, a mother of three sons.
Irwin continued, “My other son is a junior. Is he not going to be able to play football next year if he doesn’t get it? With the survival rate and the scientific evidence now, they should not be forcing us to get it. We don’t think it’s right for our kids. They’re going to be denied an in-person education, which we are entitled to. Their civil rights are now violated because of our own personal choice.”
Babe Prieto, a California parent, argued that if children stay home from school, it “will impact the funding that schools will get for that day. And we want them to know that we’re serious about not being forced to vaccinate our children.”
In Shasta County, Oak Run Elementary cancelled classes because of the protest.
“Parents, educators, and students across the U.S. will engage in peaceful noncompliance activities to remind government officials that individuals should have the final say when it comes to their health,” said the school in a letter to parents.
Newsom’s mandate currently affects students in grades 7 through 12. More than 85 percent of eligible Californians have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.