“No Mandate Monday” may be making its way to a school near you.
Some students and teachers at a California high school took part in a loosely organized protest called “No Mandate Monday” on Monday to criticize Sacramento for its COVID-19 classroom mandates and to support a senior who was kicked off campus last week for refusing to wear a mask.
According to one parent, video from inside Ponderosa High School showed mask-less students participating in the protest who had been placed in a “non-compliance room.”
Michael Wilkes, 38, an El Dorado County high school teacher, told reporters that he was placed on administrative paid leave after spending the day teaching without a mask. He stated that the district is conducting an investigation and that he will most likely be fired after five years.
Wilkes, a father of three young children, said he has received an outpouring of support from district families who agree that these mandates imposed by Sacramento do more harm than good when it comes to children’s health and learning environments.
A statewide mask requirement affects approximately 6.7 million students in California. The mandate is supported by the state’s largest teachers’ unions, as well as the California Association of School Boards. The state’s Democrat governor, Gavin Newsom, has stated that students will be required to be vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes once the vaccines for the specific age groups have been thoroughly tested in the United States.
Wilkes stated that he intends to advocate for individual liberties and encourage debate in his classes. He claimed that parents are becoming tired of these mandates, citing last week’s protest in Sacramento as evidence. Parents spoke out against the Newsom vaccine mandate at the protest.
The video of the protesting students was posted on Let Them Breathe’s Twitter account on Monday.
According to Reopen California Schools, a volunteer group, “No-Mask Mondays” was formed in response to a student “who couldn’t wear one and was disciplined because of our state’s indefinite school mask mandate.”
Wilkes stated that the high school senior, whom he described as a “straight-A angel,” decided to remove the facial covering and attempt to enter classrooms last week. He claims she was eventually kicked off campus.
It was unclear how many students and teachers from the school participated in the protest. Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Reopen California Schools, stated that he began his campaign to get students back into the classroom when the state’s schools first closed to in-person classes in 2020. Despite the fact that the state has reopened schools, he claims that these mandates continue to have an impact on the children.
The mask and vaccine mandates are at the heart of the protest.
The long-term side effects of these vaccines are still unknown, according to parents who oppose vaccines for children. They also claim that these mandates infringe on their liberties. Opponents of these protests see those who refuse to wear masks as reckless and willing to jeopardize public health in order to make a political statement.
According to federal health officials, child-sized doses of Pfizer’s vaccine appear to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic infections in elementary school children and have caused no unexpected safety issues.
The FDA published its analysis of Pfizer’s data ahead of a public meeting this week to debate whether the shots are ready for the nation’s roughly 28 million children aged five to eleven. The agency will put the question to a panel of outside vaccine experts for a vote.
FDA scientists concluded that the vaccine’s benefit in preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths outweighed any serious potential side effects in children in almost every scenario. However, agency reviewers stopped short of authorizing Pfizer’s shot. Health officials have also insisted that masks, when worn correctly, have been shown to be effective in limiting disease spread in indoor settings.
Wilkes also stated that he has the support of other teachers who would otherwise speak out but are afraid of losing their jobs. However, he stated that he will continue to stand firm.