Oakdale High Schoolers Protest Mask Mandate, Classroom Segregation

Written by William Hekman

High school students in Oakdale, California are protesting the statewide mask mandate. Due to the mask mandate, many students are banned from attending regular classes and forced to some alternative classroom away from fellow students. 

On Wednesday, 375 students from Oakdale Joint Unified refused to wear a mask, with parents protesting outside the school. Students say that those who do not wear masks are forced to the school gym. “Let Them Breathe”, one of the organizers for the protest said, “Oakdale CA students throughout the district are refusing to wear masks. High schoolers have been sent to the gym and filled it with more unmasked students on their way”. They followed up saying, “These kids are following the governor’s example and we are here to legally support their rights”.

The statement is referencing recent photos of Governor Newsom maskless next to former Laker Magic Johnson at the NFC Championship Game in Los Angeles, violating his and the local city order on masks. Jennifer Henry, an Oakdale parent said, “Our own governor doesn’t follow these rules, so why should our children have to be wearing a mask?” Another parent, Jennifer Poth, said her 8-year-old son was made to study outside in 43 degree weather because he was not wearing a mask, “They forced him to go outside in 43-degree weather and sit there and try to do schoolwork.” Superintendent Dave Kline said that this was a mistake and took responsibility.

California schools continue to be under a mandate from the state, but the indoor mask mandate for business is set to expire on the 15th of February so maybe schools will end their mandate as well. 

Photo Cred:  Brooke Chau/The Leader