COVID-19 vaccine protestors take to the streets following the new California student vaccine mandate


LA Times

Parents rally with posters and chants in Huntington Beach to protest the public school vaccine mandate.

Caroline Hubner and Emma Ippolito

On Oct. 18, 2021 the Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified) and Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) were hit hard by low attendance rates due to the state-wide walkout against the implementation of COVID-19 vaccine mandates in schools. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced that children 12 and older will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend in-person instruction and this will carry over to younger children following approval from the Federal Drug Association (FDA). This made California the first state in the nation to require the vaccine. 

Marching under the banner Our Children, Our Choice, parents opposed to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, decided to keep their kids home from school in order to limit attendance-based funding. Many of these parents do not consider themselves anti-vaxxers but feel that the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe and/or an infringement on their personal liberties.

This walkout caused a noticeable absence as many students both for and against vaccines protested the new law. Scott Murray ‘23, a participant in the protest, explained, “I do not think the vaccine is wrong, but I think the vaccine should not be mandated. I believe I did my part in standing up for my rights.” 

The walkout wasn’t without controversy as many pro-vaccine supporters applauded Newsom’s initiative to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the pre-existing immunization requirements for public schools. 

Renee Schultz ‘23 added, “I believe the vaccine is necessary to protect us all, and those who protest getting a simple shot will be our community’s downfall.” 

While the debate of the legitimacy of the new law continues, all public, private and K-12 schools will be required to mandate students to turn in proof of vaccination by the semester following FDA approval for their respective age group. For most Foothill Tech and Ventura Unified students, the requirement is expected to go into effect on July 1, 2022.

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