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Middle school students in Orangevale protest school mask mandate, school mistakenly lets them leave campus

A video started circulating on social media Friday morning showing Andrew Carnegie Middle School students on the curb as a result of refusing to wear masks.

ORANGEVALE, Calif. — A small number of students from Andrew Carnegie Middle School in the San Juan Unified School District participated in a walkout against California's school mask mandate Friday.

The district says the group of students was told that they either needed to wear a mask or have their parents pick them up from school.

"This morning, approximately 15 students chose not to wear face coverings and gathered outside the front office at Andrew Carnegie Middle School, sharing that they would not be wearing face coverings inside their classrooms," the statement says.

Of the 15 students, eight of the students refused to wear a mask and their parents refused to pick them up, the district says. The eight students were then asked to wait outdoors, in front of the school by themselves but the district says having the middle school students be unsupervised was a mistake.

"School staff misinterpreted guidance stating adults are only allowed to demonstrate in a public space outside the school and applied it to students. As a result, the remaining students on campus were instructed to engage in their activity on the public sidewalk," the statement says. "It is not appropriate for students to be by themselves without direct supervision and students were moved inside under supervision for the remainder of the school day."

The students were taken to the library.

"I didn't think a school would put unsupervised kids out near a public roadway. It's kind of concerning," one parent told ABC10 outside the school.  "I didn't see any supervision whatsoever looking around the school. I didn't see a teacher, I didn't see any administration or any staff whatsoever."

Let Them Breathe, a group of over 30,000 parents advocating for the end to the mask rules is supporting students across the state taking similar stands.

Shannon McKeeman, the founder of Let them Breathe, says that these mask mandate protests have gained momentum in recent weeks.  They shared a video of the Orangevale protest to its Instagram account.

"Children are saying that they're following the governor's example, and if he doesn't have to wear a mask while enjoying a ball game they don't feel they should have to wear a mask at school," McKeeman told ABC10.

Current California orders require students to wear masks in schools due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An August 2021 memo from the Department of Public Health states, "Universal masking reduces the risk of outbreaks, thereby avoiding disruptions to school operations, including closure. Furthermore, masks empower schools to implement more targeted quarantine procedures, often eliminating the need for students to miss any instructional time."


Watch More: Gov. Newsom faces backlash after maskless photo at 49ers-Rams game | Rynor Report

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