RedVoice Media reports that the Oakdale Joint Unified School District has voted to defy Governor Gavin Newsom’s vaccine mandate.
Last week, school district officials voted 4-1 to approve a resolution that, they believe, is designed to keep students and staff safe and in school. The vote was hailed by many concerned students, parents, and educators.
According to the Modesto Bee, a member of the Board stated: “The governing board is aware that many parents have concerns about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine and believes that parental choice regarding health decisions is absolutely essential.”
The Board’s resolution is not just a vote against mandates, it is an open rebuke of Newsom’s and Biden Administration policies.
The resolution affirms that refusing the COVID-19 vaccination is a “constitutionally guaranteed right” and “respectfully requests” that Governor Newsom “reconsider the impact of the Vaccination Mandate on all students and staff.”
The Board argues that the impact of a vaccine mandate will be considerable as “about 35% of Oakdale Joint Unified School District employees are unvaccinated.”
The Board also notes that mandated vaccines will “impede…access to academic instruction” and have a significant negative impact on the development of “social and emotional skills, reliable nutrition, physical and mental health.”
The resolution cites data released by the California Dept of Public Health and asserts that vaccine mandates “appear to discriminate against people of color disproportionally; therefore, creating racial, ethnic, and philosophical issues.”
The resolution also asserts it is a breach of civil rights not to “guarantee a permanent allowance for clear exemptions, including exemptions for students with natural immunity due to COVID-19 exposure and for families with sincerely held religious or personal beliefs that conflict with the mandate.”
The Board notes that schools in their district have, without issue, “operated in-person learning safely since reopening in the fall of 2020 without…vaccines or COVID-19 vaccination mandates.
Finally, the Board noted that their decision is driven by “expressed” parent concerns and the “anticipated interruption in attendance for many students whose parents elect not to vaccinate them.”
The Oakdale Board’s resolution follows similar decisions by school districts across California.
State officials seem prepared to push back.
The Modesto Bee reports that an email from Scott Roark, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office, threatened schools and districts that refuse to comply with vaccine mandates, saying:
“State Superintendent Tony Thurmond respects local control and understands the difficult choices districts need to make in order to keep schools open and safe and to keep all students learning. However, there are audit consequences for not adhering to current immunization requirements.”
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