California school "walkout" over vaccine mandates begins today

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

California’s strict new immunity mandate for all public and private school employees and eligible students goes into effect today. And with it, a walkout by teachers and staff opposed to the mandate is being planned, along with a call for parents to keep their children home from school if they do not wish to comply. Only children ages 12 and up are currently eligible for the vaccine, so the mandate will only impact high schools and middle schools in that regard. There are no firm estimates of how many school staff members and families will participate, but one organizer said that they are demanding “parental choice over the bodily autonomy of our children.” (Fox News)

California parents and teachers who oppose school vaccine mandates are planning a statewide walkout Monday, according to reports.

News about the planned protest has spread on social media, with organizers suggesting that parents pull their children out of school and that teachers and staff who support the protest stay home.

California became the first state to mandate vaccinations or coronavirus testing for eligible children to attend in-person classes at public and private schools after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the requirement Oct. 1. Students who don’t comply will be required to do an independent study. There are medical and personal belief exemptions.

While far from universal, some entire school districts are responding to the deadline in a similar fashion. Oak Run Elementary in Shasta County has canceled classes for Monday. The school sent out a letter to parents last week saying that it “will engage in peaceful noncompliance activities to remind government officials that individuals should have the final say when it comes to their health.”

I’ll confess to being a bit surprised at the volume this debate has reached in the Golden State. I would have assumed that California’s largely liberal population would have been more inclined to meekly go along with the mandates than take this sort of direct action.

We should also note that the California mandate isn’t really as sweeping or bad as the federal policies being pushed in many places. For both school staffers and students, they have the option of submitting weekly negative COVID test results instead of proof of vaccination. They are also claiming to offer exemptions for religious or medical reasons, though I’m not seeing any reports yet as to how widely those requests are being granted.

But even the testing option isn’t really all that great. Going and getting a COVID test and waiting for the results to come back is already a stressful situation for many people, and I’m sure that’s even more true for younger children who may not fully grasp what is going on. If the state actually put any trust in the school staff members and families, they could simply remind them that if they are coming down with any symptoms similar to COVID or a cold or the flu they should simply stay home and go see a doctor or visit a testing site. The majority of people are no doubt perfectly capable of that sort of responsible behavior.

Unfortunately, my hopes aren’t very high in terms of California Governor Gavin Newsom or any other elected officials in that state taking notice of the protest or changing their policies. They’ve already demonstrated that they prefer authoritarian mandates to routine legislative action and don’t pay much mind to community sensibilities. The fewer people that show up at the schools this week, the fewer headaches they will have to deal with. Meanwhile, keep an eye out for a serious surge in homeschooling in California and everywhere else where these mandates are going into effect. If you want to break the grip of the socialists who have long controlled our public school systems, that’s a very good first step. So perhaps some good will come from this era after all.