Chants of “Let us in!” filled the air as Los Angeles Unified School District parents protested the district’s vaccine mandate for students at the Parents Call the Shots rally in Westwood Sunday.
Parents used a locked gate at Wilshire Boulevard and Veteran Avenue to symbolize an estimated 20,000 LAUSD students who will be forced to take online classes because they are unvaccinated.
“They are being excluded, isolated, segregated and shamed and bullied for decision that isn’t even theirs to make,” Los Angeles resident Jennifer Kennedy said.
Those students will be enrolled in the City of Angels program for online learning, which is an “independent study program, there is no live instruction,” said Angeleno Monica Sanders.
“Everyone here is afraid for their kids, afraid their kids won’t go to college,” Sanders said. “If you want to get into UCLA or UCSD or wherever, you need to have AP classes. They will cancel that for you and you cannot continue in those classes. You can’t take the exams because you’re not in school.”
However, the LAUSD school board says the mandate is absolutely necessary.
“It’s very important for our students to be vaccinated because we want to continue to have a safe campus and a safe learning environment for our students,” said Frances Baez, a local district superintendent with the LAUSD. “We know that during distance learning, our students didn’t get the best experience, and we want to make sure they continue learning on campus, at school, and the vaccination helps us keep our school safe.”
Parents are worried that their students will suffer in the online-learning program.
“And our school board has admitted it. They’ve said that the City of Angels is not up to standard and that was before these 20,000 kids could potentially go into it, so that’s just not fair,” said Robby King of Los Angeles. “If you’re going to mandate, then have a better alternative for these kids, because the alternative they have right now is just unacceptable.”
So far, two lawsuits against LAUSD have failed in court to stop the vaccine mandate, though a court hearing for one of the lawsuits is scheduled for Wednesday to ask a judge to pause the mandate for now.