Mask choice advocacy group rallies at Carlsbad Unified board meeting


CARLSBAD, Calif. – Parents and students joining the Let Them Breathe mask choice movement rallied Wednesday ahead of the Carlsbad Unified School District board meeting.

The advocacy group is in favor people having the option whether to wear a mask or not this school year as California public health officials call for everyone to remain masked indoors regardless of vaccination status.

“Give the kids a choice,” said Melanie Burkholder, a Republican politician who ran and lost last year for the District 76 seat in the California State Assembly. “Let parents and families decide, not the school district. It’s not their place.”

Amid mixed messages from state and federal agencies, San Diego County school districts are feeling the pressure from local parents fighting for their kids to have the option when it comes to masks. The topic of masks at school was not on the agenda for Carlsbad Unified and the board did not address it, but they did hear from dozens of parents and kids before and during the meeting.

“He has speech delay and requires the use of other people’s mouths to speak and to progress,” said Carlsbad parent Kirby Brislin when speaking about her son’s needs to the board.

While California has chosen a more restrictive route for masks in the classroom, Carlsbad has joined Poway and Vista school districts in sending a letter to the state asking to at least follow CDC guidance, which would allow vaccinated people to not have to wear masks on campus.

“Unfortunately it was only asking for mask-choice for the kids who have been vaccinated,” said Sharon McKeeman, founder of Let Them Breathe. “We know none of the elementary kids can be vaccinated at this point and not all secondary kids are vaccinated.”

There are now several rallies planned at other districts throughout San Diego and surrounding counties, with many board meetings being the last chance for parents to speak out before the school year starts.

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