Over 50 students have walked out of class and are being held in Bearcat Hall

PASO ROBLES —

UPDATE (3 pm on Feb. 15)

After sending an email to administration, Deputy Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola responded with the following comment: 

“A small percentage of students are protesting the continued mask mandate at PRHS. Currently, students are with the administration. Parents have been notified the students are out of class and refusing to wear a mask. The administration is giving students options related to their “protest” and responsible next steps related to creating change in our school community related to mask mandates.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

PRJUSD Board President, Chris Arend, told Paso Robles Press all board members received an email from the students in Bearcat Hall. The students requested board members to come to campus and hear them out. However, Arend says the Brown Act restricts them to only allowing three board members to meet with the students.

Arend said he did not know what kind of discipline the students would receive but that he would not support suspension or any other discipline. 

Arend also told Paso Robles Press that Trustee Dorian Baker is proposing a mask choice resolution at tonight’s agenda-setting meeting. Arend said he would support adding this resolution to the Feb. 22 school board meeting agenda.

This is a developing story and will be updated when new information is available.

(Original Post: Feb. 15 at 11:30 am)

On Tuesday, Feb. 15, Paso Robles High School (PRHS) students came to campus without masks in protest of the mask mandate still in place at Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

Hunter Breese, a senior at PRHS and member of the conservative club at the school, said, “We all collectively as a group and as students decided that we’ve had enough of the masks and we want change. We decided that the best way to make a change was to make a statement.”

Breese describes the protest as a walkout, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s peaceful protesting. Today, Breese told Paso Robles Press, PRHS students walked into class without masks. When asked to put their masks on by teachers, the students respectfully declined.

“It was understood by everybody that at some point we were going to get sent out and there was going to be some sort of disciplinary action taken on us,” said Breese.

At the start of their protest, Breese says about 15 students were ready to go onto campus without their maks. Over 50 students declining to wear masks have been sent to the Bearcat Hall to wait out what is next for them. According to Breese, there has not been any talk about suspension for the students. He says some of the students are working on homework, and others are working on letters to be sent to local and state officials, asking for change.

Today, Feb. 15, marks the last day of the mask mandate for vaccinated Californians.

“What better day to do it than when the mask mandates supposed to end,” said Breese.

Paso Robles Press went to PRHS for comment from the administration. No comment could be made and we were sent to the district office to get a statement. Once at the district office, we were told there was no one available for comment.

Paso Robles Press is reaching out to PRJUSD trustees for a statement.

This is a developing story and will be updated when new information is available.