BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Close to 100 community members gathered both in and outside the board room doors of the Kern High School District board meeting to voice their concerns with the latest announcement by the governor requiring students to soon get vaccinated.
This was a controversial topic sparking a big debate against KHSD with officials walking out for about 10 minutes before returning. This followed one community member took to the podium despite the public comment portion of the meeting ending.
“We need to calm down. I’m going to go talk to them. If we're not respectful we're not heard,” one member of the public said.
People were allotted 15 minutes to speak out for public comment on each topic. The discussion of vaccine mandates was extended an extra 6 minutes where every person was in opposition of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in schools.
“Our covid policies don’t make much sense. At least until you follow the money when you took the money did you not think that we care? Or did you not care what we thought?” said another community member.
This came after Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced a statewide mandate for all eligible students to be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine once it is fully FDA approved.
The state’s top official posted a tweet last Friday, which said in part “this is about keeping our kids safe and healthy.”
District officials are not making any decision Monday on the mandates, stressing they are also having to adapt to the newly announced change.
“While the employees remain vigilant in our efforts to keep our schools safe the landscape of the state’s response continue to evolve,” said board members.
Many community members continued to voice concerns asking the board to take back control from the governor and fight back.
Those speakers including everyone from parents and students to pastors and even multiple teachers.
“The environment being created to work in and learn in has become discriminatory, segregated, and downright hostile. The school district is willfully modeling an environment to students who accept coercion,” said a KHSD teacher.
Many of those speakers were met with standing ovations.
With the board room filled indoors community members overfilled outside council doors.
Kristine Jacobson, an educator of 26 years who currently works with the KHSD told 23ABC that she would consider pulling her kids out of school and leaving the state if the mandate gets put in place as early as the start of next year.
Another parent outside those doors joining others in their fight.
“We want to show the school board how senseless this is and how ridiculous it is. And that we as parents have more rights over our children than the governor,” Cathrine Poppledell.