As the school season begins in August, face-to-face classes are resuming in school districts of Los Angeles, but parents and students who want to return are faced with mask mandates.
From the start of school this fall, the California government requires all K-12 students to wear a mask to school, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
On July 21, the Education Board in Glendora Unified School District sent a notice to parents that the district is required to comply with state and county public health department regulations.
On Aug. 23, dozens of parents protested against the district’s denial of parental rights during a meeting of the Glendora Unified School District at Sellers Elementary School in Los Angeles County. They called on the district’s Education Board to provide mask options, curriculum transparency, and accountability.
Rallies like this have continued throughout California in the past few months.
Freedom of Choice
“I want my daughter to also be able to breathe,” said Trina Michalak, a parent at the rally who believes that parents are entitled to freedom of choice for their children and should not be interfered with by the government. “But I feel like the government, they’re stepping on us.”
Michalak questioned what she believes is a hidden agenda behind the government’s and the school district’s mandate for children to wear masks. “Control. [It’s] all about control,” she said.
“I’m trained in PPE (personal protective equipment). Particulates, that’s part of my job to know what the masks do and don’t do. They have limitations. They don’t work. I know so many people who have COVID now, who are vaccinated, wore their masks, did what they were told to do, and yet they’re still sick.”
Michalak’s daughter also complained to her that she felt irritable wearing the mask and could not concentrate on reading and attending classes.
“If you want to wear [it], fine. If you don’t, please let us have our choice,” she said.
Rally attendees said these mandates go against people’s freedom of choice.
Exemptions and Discrimination
Jamie Lynn, who has 20 years of experience as a school counselor, said that there are too many children who cannot be vaccinated or wear masks for health reasons, and the district is discriminating against these children by imposing mandatory policies.
“My children have medical vaccine exemptions. I have two children that were injured by vaccines, and now they’re forcing them to wear masks so I’m going to refuse to send them,” she said. “Kids don’t like wearing masks, they need oxygen.”
In the public speaking session of the school district meeting that night, Lynn told the Education Board that compared to the threat posed to children by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, the real public health crisis is that more than half of children suffer from chronic illness, autism, ADHD speech, and language disorders; and forcing children to wear masks only worsens the situation.
She also told The Epoch Times that many school districts are now being sued over mandatory mask mandates. And if this district’s Education Board pushes through mandatory mask mandates without regard for public opinion and student health, it will also face a lawsuit.
“I like the saying ‘I don’t co-parent with the government,’” said Heather Bosco, another parent at the rally. “I make the best decisions for my children … They eat nice, balanced, healthy diets. Let me decide about my kid’s health.”
“I know for my kid and my situation,” she said. “It [wearing masks] causes a great deal of anxiety with it. We’ve tried multiple different masks. He can’t see without his glasses. He can’t see the board. It causes his glasses to fog.”
Some parents said they just want the government and health department to be more transparent in their operations. For example, if the government pushes the mask mandate, it needs to show scientific evidence and data to prove that children are spreading the virus.
According to a Danish study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine at the end of 2020 which involved over 6,000 participants, wearing a mask or not made no significant difference in preventing infection.
Presenting the Facts
“People are smart enough if they’re given the information, the true, actual facts. You get a lot of cooperation. People wouldn’t be out here protesting if they have the actual facts presented to them and not being obfuscated,” said rally attendee Mac Graham.
“It’s against our civil liberties and rights,” said Justin Rigoli at the rally. “[Nobody] but ourselves [can] give any kind of right to tell us what we should be putting on our face, in our bodies.”
In response to the protest, during the meeting, board member Cory Ellenson suggested the board look into what the consequences would be if the school district goes against county health guidelines.
Board member Elizabeth Reuter agreed with parents, expressing disappointment in starting the school year by requiring masks.