Grass Valley protesters denounce vaccine mandate
Parents gathered Monday in protest, vowing to keep children home if Gov. Gavin Newsom’s directive to have students inoculated for COVID-19 is enacted.
Approximately a dozen parents, plus 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 — were both holding placards protesting Newsom’s mandate.
“The government doesn’t have custody of my children,” Eva Nau said. “Governor Newsom is making 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 versus the Board of Education.”
California is poised to become the first in the country to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school children and could persuade other states to follow.
All students in grades 7 through 12 will be required to be vaccinated for in-person learning starting the term after full federal approval. State officials have said the requirement could begin as early as next fall.
“As parents, we should have the right to parent our children the way we see fit,” said Nau.
She started a Facebook page — Nevada County: My Child, My Choice. About 25 group members protested Monday at the state Capitol.
“It’s our show of solidarity and we’re here to oppose Newsom’s initiative,” Nau said.
“The state already requires that students are vaccinated against viruses that cause measles, mumps and rubella — there’s no reason why we wouldn’t do the same for COVID-19,” Newsom has said. “Vaccines work. It’s why California leads the country in preventing school closures and has the lowest case rates.”
‘IT SHOULD BE OUR CHOICE’
Charis Calhoon, a Nevada County parent who has three children in grades three, six and nine, also opposed the vaccine mandate at the Grass Valley demonstration.
“It’s too new,” she said. “I feel like it should go through months (more) of testing before we give it to our kids. I still feel like it’s our choice, like religion it should be our choice, not the government’s. My older son said he will not take the shot.”
Calhoon said she would pull her children out of public school and home school them instead, if the mandate goes into effect.
”Other parents are pretty much in the same boat,” she added.
A Nevada City parent, Si Zxyio has two daughters, one in first grade and another in pre-school. She said her children have all their vaccinations, except for COVID-19.
“As a parent, I feel I should decide and not the government,” she said. “It’s basically an experiment.”
Kyle Warren is a grandmother and was out supporting her daughter Charis, the mother of her grandchildren.
“I’m out here so my grand kids don’t have to be vaccinated,” she said. “I totally support my daughter pulling her kids out of public school. The vaccine is useless, and there’s no need for kids to bear the brunt of this experiment.”
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 caused so much pain across our state and nation these past 18 months.”
Until now Newsom left the decision on student vaccine mandates to local school districts. In Los Angeles a vaccine mandate is set to take affect in January. Newsom’s plan does not override this, as he said districts can accelerate the requirement.
William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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