Parents gathered in protest on Monday, promising to keep the children at home if Governor Gavin Newsom’s directive to vaccinate students against COVID-19 passes.
About a dozen parents and several children demonstrated at Brunswick Road and Sutton Way in Grass Valley.
Eva Nau – parent of John Nau, a ninth grade student at Nevada Union High School, who accompanied her – both held signs protesting Newsom’s tenure.
“The government does not have custody of my children,” said Eva Nau. “Governor Newsom is issuing a mandate that makes no sense. Our children have a fair and equal right to education under the 14th Amendment, as well as under Brown against the Board of Education. “
California is set to become the first in the country to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on schoolchildren and may persuade other states to follow suit.
All students in Grades 7 to 12 will need to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting with the term after full federal approval. State officials said the requirement could begin as early as next fall.
“As parents, we should have the right to raise our children as we see fit,” Nau said.
She started a Facebook page – Nevada County: My child, my choice. About 25 members of the group demonstrated on Monday at the State Capitol.
“This is our show of solidarity and we are here to oppose Newsom’s initiative,” Nau said.
“The state is already demanding that students be vaccinated against the viruses that cause measles, mumps and rubella – there is no reason we shouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom said . “The vaccines work. That’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates. “
“THIS SHOULD BE OUR CHOICE”
Charis Calhoon, a Nevada County parent who has three children in grades three, six and nine, also opposed the vaccine’s mandate during the Grass Valley protest.
“It’s too new,” she said. “I feel like he should go through months (more) of testing before giving it to our kids. I always feel like it’s our choice, like religion, it should be our choice, not the government’s. My oldest son said he wouldn’t shoot.
Calhoon has said she will remove her children from public school and teach them at home instead, if the mandate goes into effect.
“The other parents are pretty much in the same boat,” she added.
A parent from Nevada City, Si Zxyio has two daughters, one in first grade and one in kindergarten. She said her children have all of their vaccines except for COVID-19.
“As a parent, I think I should decide and not the government,” she said. “It’s essentially an experience.”
Kyle Warren is a grandmother and supported her daughter Charis, the mother of her grandchildren.
“I am here so that my grandchildren do not have to be vaccinated,” she said. “I fully support my daughter who withdraws her children from public school. The vaccine is unnecessary and children do not have to pay the price for this experience.
Vaccines are not a new idea, said Dr. Peter Bretah, president of the California Medical Association.
“The Newsom administration is simply extending existing public health protections to cover this new disease that has caused so much pain in our state and nation for the past 18 months.”
So far, Newsom has left the decision on student immunization mandates to local school districts. In Los Angeles, a vaccination mandate is expected to go into effect in January. Newsom’s plan does not replace that, as he said districts can speed up the requirement.
William Roller is a writer for The Union. He can be contacted at [email protected]
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Protest in Grass Valley Monday