The sit-out is in protest of vaccine mandates for students and teachers

CALIFORNIA — On Monday, Oct. 18, parents and teachers in California who oppose a vaccine mandate for students and teachers are planning a sit-out.

Throughout the week, posters have been circulating on social media notifying the public of the Statewide sit-out. Those who support the movement are asked not to call their child out as sick, but to state, they oppose the vaccine mandate.

On Oct. 1, California became the first state to announce a COVID vaccination mandate for schools. Governor Newsom announced the COVID vaccine would be added to the list of required vaccinations for middle and high school students once the vaccine receives full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Newsom explained the COVID vaccine would be required for in-person school attendance.

Teachers and staff who also oppose the mandate are asked to participate if they want to.

Rebekah Koznek, the vice-chair for Moms for Liberty San Luis Obispo County, says, “It’s not an anti-vax thing. It’s about being told that they have to [take the vaccine] or they have to quit, or your kids can’t go to school in person. It needs to be a personal choice. Our whole thing is we are supporting the people that are going to face that decision of having to quit or get something they don’t want.”

Moms for Liberty is a non-profit organization “dedicated to fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government.”

Kozneck says the sit-out is a pro-active movement, “To show support for the right to choose, many parents and school staff will not be sending their kids to school and staff will not be going to work.”

She also explains they understand the districts are not out to get anyone but are instead put into a rock and a hard place by the State government.

Like many, Kozneck is unsure of who started the sit-out movement. When her group first heard of the sit-out, they were unsure if it was something they would promote.

Kozneck was also one of many parents who spoke up against the vaccine mandate during the Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) board meeting on Oct. 5.

However, Kozneck says, “We’re all about freedom of choice—I want all points of view to be heard, not just mine because I know other people disagree with me, and I disagree with other people.”

When Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Curt Debost was asked about the mandate, he said, “While families may see this [sit out] as a tangible way to show their frustration and dissatisfaction with the Governor’s directive, it is unlikely to change anything. The only certain outcome from the removal of their students for a day is they will have lost another day of in-person instruction, and the absence will cost the district money it could use to support kids. At some point, we have to quit fighting on everything and try to find common ground and heal the divisions.”

This is an ongoing story that will be updated when new information is available.