Hundreds protest public school vaccine mandate in downtown Bakersfield

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Chants of “Freedom” and “USA” came from a crowd so large, it spilled from the sidewalk into the street.

Passing cars honked their support as a crowd of hundreds gathered outside the KCSOS offices downtown Bakersfield.

The rally drew parents and students of all ages. Several protesters said that the mandate, more than the vaccine itself, was their main point of concern.

“I’m not against the vaccine,” Centennial High School student Sammy Wells said. “I think the vaccine is a great thing, and the fact that we developed one so quick is great. It’s beautiful. But I don’t think we should be mandating it for every student in the state yet. I think it should be up to the parents to make that decision.”

Among the crowd were students from high schools across the county — Liberty, Centennial, BCHS and others. Some said only a handful of their peers participated in the sit-out, while others said classmates reported half-full classes.

17 News is waiting for official confirmation from school districts regarding today’s attendance numbers.

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