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Southern California Families Protest School Vaccine Mandates Using Hundreds of Pairs of Shoes

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Families throughout Southern California protested the public school COVID vaccine mandate by staging walkouts and placing pairs of shoes outside of school district facilities on Monday.

The shoes are to represent the number of students the school would lose if they enforce the vaccine requirement.

In October, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced all K-12 students will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after it has been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The requirement takes effect at the start of the term following full approval, which the state anticipates will apply to grades 7-12 starting on July 1, 2022. However, school districts were encouraged to implement the mandate ahead of the state based on local circumstances.

Last month, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5 to 11.

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In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced it would require all students 12 and older to be vaccinated by Dec. 19.

The Mercury News reported hundreds of people gathered outside the State Capitol in Sacramento to protest the vaccine mandates Monday, while others staged walkouts in school districts in Southern California. This is reminiscent of protests staged last month.

Should school children be required to get vaccinated?

At a protest in Woodland Hills, north of Los Angeles, one parent, Anna Mkrtchyan, said her 7-year-old son should not be required to take the vaccine, given the fact that anyone who is in a high risk group can get vaccinated and protect themselves.

“The bottom line is he’s not high-risk,” Mkrtchyan told Mercury News. “If the point [of the vaccines] was to help the high-risk people, … why are you coming for 5 year olds? … It’s just overreach.”

Hundreds of shoes were placed in front of school district offices in San Juan Capistrano, Riverside, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore among other communities.

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Amber Smith — one of the founders of Moms on the Ground, a group opposed to the vaccine mandate — told San Clemente Times that 600 pairs of shoes were placed in front of the Capistrano Unified School Districts headquarters.

“I went there myself to put two pairs out for my kids,” Smith said. “It’s showing the district, listen, these are the parents that are going to pull their kids out if the mandate goes through.”

Republican California state Sen. Melissa Melendez shared pictures from a demonstration in Lake Elsinore, writing, “Students are standing up for themselves.”

“They’re sending you a message,” she added. “School Board members and Governor Newsom, are you listening?”

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