The father of two high school students in California says his children are being discriminated against because of their religious beliefs after they refused to wear masks the first day of school and are now banned from campus.
“They were sent home and told not to return with or without a mask,” said Gary Nelson, whose children, Drew, 17, and Victoria, 16, attend Springs Charter Schools Temecula Student Center. “If they do, they will be charged with violation.”
Nelson said Drew, a senior, and Victoria, a junior, were started off campus on August 19 when they refused to wear masks because of their religious beliefs.
“The Bible says that we are created in the image of God, and Satan is trying to cover it up. A mask is a sign of oppression, “Nelson said Thursday. “If it was Muslim, Jewish or something of a higher profile minority religion in this country, well, they would have accepted … just to say that they did not discriminate based on that religion. But they feel safe because it is Christianity. ”
Nelson said his children were not expelled, that they have access to school work and that they were told that they could continue their studies at home online, but that the teachers have not been responsive to their needs.
He declined to comment on whether his children have been vaccinated. He said they excel academically and are college-bound.
Nelson said Victoria was told to go to the principal’s office after she showed up without a mask on, but that the principal was not in, so she returned to the classroom. That was when the teacher evacuated the room and police were called, he said. A school resource manager confronted Victoria and told her to leave campus hours after the ordeal began, he said.
Campus went on a “soft lockdown,” according to an email an assistant principal sent to parents. In general, a soft lock means that school doors are locked, but teaching continues.
Principal Rebecca Fabozzi did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday, and several phone calls to the school were not returned.
Fabozzi said in a letter to Nelson that his children were disruptive and that they violated the mandate of the California Department of Public Health, or CDPH, that students wear masks in public schools. She also mentioned nine other ways siblings had failed to follow school rules and policies.
“Each of your students refused to comply with the CDPH mask mandate for public schools. When asked by staff to wear face clothing, your students refused to comply, ”Fabozzi wrote. “When he was asked to leave the school premises and continue the day with home-made independent study, your student refused to leave campus. Our resource manager arrived and your student was instructed to leave campus. ”
She ended the letter by saying that due to the interruption, Nelson’s children would remain in independent study at home with full access to curricula, resources and teachers.
Victoria said it has not been easy to stand up for her principles.
“It is difficult to stand up for the right thing. We chose not to wear a mask because it is not just an excuse. That is really what we believe in, ”she said. “For me, I was nervous. I always respect any authority, especially teachers. I get along with all the staff, teachers and other students. It was hard to do. ”