In response to a statewide school walkout to protest California’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for schools, dozens of parents and students in Southern California rallied in front of the Bonita Unified School District building in San Dimas on Oct. 18.
Despite the rain, parents arrived as early as 8 a.m., holding up signs with slogans such as “My Child My Choice,” “My kids won’t be part of your science experiment,” and “Don’t mandate uncertainty.”
“As parents, we are concerned, we don’t want that to go now to the children’s level,” Alayna Nord, a mother in La Verne, told The Epoch Times.
“We’re really concerned about the legitimacy of this vaccine and it has not been tested,” she said. “These kids are still getting the other mandated vaccines that are part of the process. What does that do to what your immune system normally does? How does it interact with these other vaccines? All those things take time. I don’t want my kids to be experimental test tubes.”
On Oct. 1, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California students in public and private schools will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to attend in-person classes when the vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for grades 7 to 12, making California the first state in the nation to announce such a measure.
Freedom of Choice
Nord, who brought her two children with her, said she believes in freedom of choice and treatment based on each person’s individual scenario. “Parents are not stupid, they take the advice of their personal medical physicians that know their children’s bodies inside and out,” she said.
She strongly disagrees with those who claim unvaccinated kids pose danger to vaccinated ones.
“If you’re vaccinated, aren’t you protected? Isn’t that the point of a vaccine? You could still spread it even if you’re vaccinated, so I don’t see the logic behind the foundation because it doesn’t make sense,” Nord said.
Robyn Walker, another parent, shared his concerns about safety, citing CDC’s data on deaths and serious adverse effects from the vaccine.
“So why would we want to experiment with this on our children?” he asked.
From Dec. 14, 2020 to Oct. 6, 2021, CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) received 8,638 reports of death among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
High school teacher Alicia Campopiano said she defies the mandate because many teenagers developed rare heart problems after receiving vaccination. According to the CDC website, as of Oct. 6, VAERS has received 1,640 reports of myocarditis or pericarditis among vaccinated persons aged 30 and under, mostly in male adolescents and young adults.
“So I would definitely not allow my children to receive a vaccine that could damage their heart for a long term,” Campopiano said.
The vaccine mandate makes it very difficult for children with chronic medical conditions.
Aaron, who will soon turn 12, told The Epoch Times, “I have a heart condition, and I want to live. If I take the vaccine, I will have side effects and then I will be very sick.”
Patricia Antunez, Aaron’s guardian, said that this is why she and Aaron both oppose California’s mandatory vaccination order. “He doesn’t want to go to home school, he wants to go to school. That’s just not fair to the kids who have problems,” she said.
Bonita Unified School District did not respond to The Epoch Times’ request to comment by press time.
Several parents at the rally told The Epoch Times that they had contacted the district’s Board of Education to voice their concerns, but the response they received was disheartening.
According to Campopiano, the Board of Education said the situation may get worse if students do not comply.
Parents indicate that they will continue to attend school district meetings and make appeals.
“If there’s one thing we can all unite and stand together on is protecting children,” Nord said.
The statewide school walkout on Monday was so far the largest protest in the state after Newson announced the vaccine mandate.