Parents, students protest school vaccine mandate


SAN DIEGO — Parents across California protested the state’s school vaccine mandate Monday, including in San Diego County, where some attended rallies with their children instead of sending them to class.

In Balboa Park, parents and students participated in the “sit out” at Organ Pavilion, many carrying handmade signs supporting their cause.

Farther east, in La Mesa, protesters gathered on the Interstate 8 overpass above Grossmont Boulevard and Murray Drive. Many people, some waving American flags, stood on both sides of the bridge and pressed their signs against the chain-link fence to be seen by drivers below.

And in the Poway District, about a dozen bus drivers called out sick Monday, impacting hundreds of students in the process.

Students and parents who are against taking the vaccine say they are torn between the love of their new high school experiences and their beliefs.

“Forced is not freedom and so being forced into doing something is not right, especially here, at least,” one student at the La Mesa sit out told FOX 5.

With 84% of eligible California residents having already received at least one shot, the question is, when the deadline comes, what will parents and students decide?

“I don’t know. I’m still thinking about it, but I don’t think it’ll end up with me getting a vaccine,” the girl continued. “I’d probably be homeschooled.”

Parents who oppose the mandate have said the requirement violates their freedom of choice and they don’t want to be forced to vaccinate their kids in order for them to receive an in-person education.

In letters sent to parents last week, Poway and San Marcos school districts said they were aware of planned walkouts and warned that keeping children home in school would only result in the loss of learning time for students.

California became the first state to mandate vaccines for all eligible children to attend in-person classes at public and private schools. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the requirement on Oct. 1.

Students who don’t comply with the mandate will be required to learn from home.

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