By Lauren DeMaria
The national debate about requiring masks in schools came to Garden Grove on Tuesday night.
A group from the Let Them Breathe movement rallied in front of the Garden Grove Unified School District office and then attended the school board meeting to voice their opposition to mask and vaccine rules imposed by the State of California in response to the coronavirus.
In a rally before the meeting, signs opposing mask and vaccination mandates were displayed and flags reading “Trump 2020 Make America Great Again” and “Stop the Steal” fluttered on poles. One sign read “COVID is a Scam,” while another read “Not Anti-Vaxx Just Anti Mandate.”
At the meeting, Lynn Groff, a Garden Grove parent said, “I think it needs to be a choice, you know, the same thing with the vaccinations. Having two boys, for me, there’s no way they’re getting vaccinated. I’m going to pull my son out come January, if that’s mandated.”
The group is mainly concerned with the “detrimental effects of masks on their children’s mental, physical, emotional, and social health,” according to its website.
Last Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that a mandate may be coming for all students in seventh to 12th grade to be inoculated with a vaccine against COVID-19. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives its approval, the requirement would go into effect the semester after such approval is given.
The mandate could also be extended to children ages 5 to 11.
Unvaccinated students would have the option of enrolling in a fully online school, taking independent study programs or be home schooled.
Following public comments, the protesters left.
The board approved The California Newcomer Education and Well-Being (CalNEW) program, a grant award from the California Department of Social Services.
The CalNEW program is a state grant given to support refugee and immigrant youth. The funding, in the amount of $807,250.00, will be utilized to expand Family Resource Centers.
“Right now, the district has one Family Resource Center, and we will be adding four more in the next three years,” said Public Information Officer Abby Broyles.
Currently, within the Family Resource Center, families are connected to a wide range of resources including, food, shelter, housing, mental health counseling, legal counseling, immigration assistance resources, and more.
“In expanding the number of Family Resource Centers, we have, we will be able to better serve refugee and immigrant families,” Broyles added.
The GGUSD is a K-12 district serving most of Garden Grove and portions of Anaheim, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Santa Ana, Stanton and Westminster.