Parents in Southern California and across the state staged protests Monday to voice their grievances with the state’s school vaccine mandate—and some took their kids with them.
Grassroots groups such as Moms on the Ground called for parents to pull their children from school or keep them home Monday to protest Governor Gavin Newsom’s first-in-the-nation requirement that all students get their shots to attend public schools in person starting the term following full FDA approval of the vaccine for their grade (7-12 and K-6)—with enforcement potentially beginning as soon as the second semester begins in January. While it’s not clear how many heeded the call, some parents, students, and teachers did hit the sidewalks Monday.
Signs reading “My Body, My Choice,” and “I call the shot, not you!” were among those held by protesters marching outside the Bonita Unified School District building in San Dimas.
“We know that if our children stay home from school that that will impact the funding that schools will get for that day,” parent Babe Prieto told ABC 7. “And we want them to know that we’re serious about not being forced to vaccinate our children.”
Other parents, like Oakland dad Michael Avila, argue that children already have to be immunized against ten other potentially deadly diseases.
“You typically sign an agreement when your child attends any public school here in the United States that your child will be vaccinated,” he told the station. “And there’s typically a list of vaccinations/immunizations that your child is required to have.
Newsom made that point himself in announcing the mandate, saying “The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps, and rubella – there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19. Today’s measure, just like our first-in-the-nation school masking and staff vaccination requirements, is about protecting our children and school staff, and keeping them in the classroom.”
Moms on the Ground cofounder and Orange County resident Parisa Fishback says the group is “not anti-vax,” rather “just anti-vax mandate for schoolchildren,” telling KTLA, “To me, the most important right that I have not only as an American or as a Californian but as a human, is those that pertain to my ability to protect my children. If I’m going to be stripped of that right, well then I have to take a stand because what’s next? What are they going to take next?”
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles and San Diego school districts are being sued over student vaccine requirements that are more restrictive than those issued by the state.