Calif. students accuse school staff of ‘barricading’ them in gym for protesting mask mandate

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Hundreds of students from the California Oakdale Joint Unified School District protested Governor Gavin Newsom’s oppressive mask mandate and a number of them were locked in a gym by teachers who then allegedly turned the heat way down until the police arrived on the scene.

The students claimed that they were “barricaded” inside the school’s gym on Thursday with lunch tables propped up against the doors as school staffers stood outside. They also accused staff members of turning down the thermostat to “freeze them out.” Videos and photographs support their accusations but police claimed the temperatures were not low.

Hundreds of students from all grades can be seen in videos marching on their way to the district headquarters in a planned “protest” as people in the streets cheered, “Let’s go, Oakdale!” People are incensed over the mandate and seeing Newsom maskless in a recent picture at the NFC Championship Game last week at SoFi Stadium with Magic Johnson only ratcheted up the resentment which is now spreading to schools across the state.

According to the Modesto Bee, Oakdale Joint Unified Superintendent Dave Kline reported that 375 students were maskless on Wednesday and 344 refused to wear them on Thursday.

Let Them Breathe,” an organization based in San Diego that opposes mask and vaccine mandates, is supporting parents and students taking a stand. The group posted a video to Twitter on Wednesday showing unmasked students spaced out in chairs in a gym.

Oakdale High School freshman Nolan Harris told CBS 13 in an interview that students were protesting the hypocrisy of Newsom. “If they don’t follow by their own rules that they’re trying to force upon me, why should I follow them?”

He went on to state that the number of angry students is growing.

“By the end of the day, there was about a hundred kids in there,” he noted referring to the students who were in the gym.

One mother, Melissa Goodman, told CBS that she supported the students’ decision to protest peacefully and asserted that other parents were also in favor of the kids making use of their First Amendment rights.

“They don’t want to get in trouble, they don’t want to disrespect their teachers,” remarked Goodman, whose son is a senior at Oakdale High School. “But they also want the right to share their smiles and breathe freely.”

(Video Credit: KCRA News)

“Our own governor doesn’t follow these rules, so why should our children have to be wearing a mask?” parent Jennifer Henry told KCRA. “He’s at this football game with all these people.”

“Let your kids choose. Let all of us choose,” Jennifer Poth told the media outlet.

Her 8-year-old son went to school maskless on Tuesday. The school called her about it.

“They called me to ask me to pick him up, and I refused. I said, ‘No. It is your job to educate my son, and he has every right to be there,'” Poth recounted.

“They forced him to go outside in 43-degree weather and sit there and try to do schoolwork,” she angrily said.

On Tuesday, NBC7 in San Diego reported that at least three Southern California students were booted from class for not following the statewide school mask mandate and cited Newsom’s actions as justification.

“The governor is supposed to be setting an example and I felt like he wasn’t,” one student told reporters.

“There must not be a big danger if the governor, who is supposed to be our example, has chosen to remove his mask, so it gave her the confidence to know, ‘Then I can go to school now without my mask,'” claimed Chrystal Sabino, who is a parent of another student who went without a mask.

(Video Credit: ABC 10 News)


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