Mask and vaccine mandates protested at Orland High

A few of the early demonstrators at Monday morning’s protest at Orland High School. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

By Larry Judkins

Glenn County Observer

Shortly before California officials announced the planned end of school mask mandates, a group of Orland citizens at the southwest corner of the Orland High School campus protested the mandates.

At 8 a.m., on Monday, Feb. 28, parents, children, and other members of the community began gathering at Shasta and Third Street. They eventually numbered from 30 to 40 people, depending on whether the students from one OHS class were there as participants or as observers of American political activism.

Announcements of the demonstration came late in the weekend, but thanks to the speed of social media, word apparently got out quickly. The messages for the peaceful protest on Facebook invited “Parents, students, community members, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., who support mask and vaccine choice” to “Please help spread the word!”

Some more mask and vaccine mandate protesters. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

The announcement continued, “Bring a friend, your student/kids, a sign, and a letter to turn into our district expressing your views. Let’s show our local school boards and administrators we support mask and vaccine choice for our students! Enough is enough! It’s been two years. Our kids deserve better!

“This has been extremely effective recently across our state, in other districts. Many have already passed resolutions and are allowing kids in-person learning, free of discrimination or intimidation if they choose to not wear a mask. This only works if everyone stands together! Parents, students, community members – all of us united!”

Many of the demonstrators’ signs explicitly complained of the government mandates, and many of the adults who held them seemed to hold Christian religious beliefs and conservative political outlooks. It was therefore ironic when the Pledge of Allegiance – the creation of an outspoken socialist, Francis Bellamy – was broadcast over the school’s public address system and the protesters placed their hands over their hearts and promised to submit to their republican government.

Keeping the message simple. Glenn County Observer photo by Larry Judkins.

A couple of Orland police officers parked their units a block away from the demonstration. They said they were there merely to ensure the public’s safety.

They provided the same service back on June 4, 2020, when a sizable group of Black Lives Matter supporters marched from the Glenn County Fairgrounds to the area of Dutch Bros on Newville Road.

Later on Monday, state officials announced that California will no longer require masks in schools and childcare facilities starting March 12. California will still strongly recommend masks in classrooms, but they will not be mandatory.

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