I am a high school honors English teacher in northern California, and I am on administrative leave, in the process of being fired due to the California vaccine mandate.
Let me explain how I got here and why I’m willing to be fired over this.
Governor Newsom announced a vaccine mandate on October 1st for all public and private school-age children in California; without the shot, they will be denied in-person learning. Once FDA approved (likely in January for ages 12 and up), educators must either take the shot or be fired, regardless of whether or not they’ve recovered from Covid already, regardless of whether or not they have natural immunity.
Newsom’s one-size-fits-all mandate is discriminatory and ignores the authoritative science behind natural immunity. When I heard about the mandate, it greatly disturbed me.
I was already disturbed by the discriminatory policies that were enacted throughout California seemingly designed to coerce children to take the vaccine. For example, in California, if a student tests positive for Covid, all students seated within six (6) feet are contact traced. If they have taken the vaccine and have no Covid symptoms, they get to stay in class, clubs, and sports. If they don’t have the vaccine — even if they have already recovered from Covid and even if they also have no Covid symptoms — they are forced to do distance learning for 10 days. This can happen multiple times throughout the school year. Some students have been contact traced on four separate occasions, despite already recovering from Covid. Students are tired of seeing their grades suffer and missing out on sports and clubs, so many of them take the vaccine, not because they want it or necessarily need it, but because they view it as the only way to get back their freedom.
I decided it was time to speak up.
Where I live, in Shasta County, California, about half of the county is unvaccinated. The mandate would force these children to go on distance learning, which was a disaster last year. I realized this new mandate would create an educational crisis for families, not just in the north-state, but for families all across California.
The day after Newsom’s announcement, I drafted an email to my entire school district — including the superintendent, and board — detailing my concerns about the impending educational crisis due to these mandates. I slept on it for a night, and I discussed it with my wife the next day. I was hesitant, but she encouraged me to be courageous.
Then I pressed send.
The email went viral throughout Shasta County. It was forwarded to educators in other school districts, to parents, and to private citizens. Someone took screenshots of it and posted it on social media.
All throughout the next week in school, students caught me in the hallway or popped into my classroom to say they read my letter and that they agreed. One parent sent me a Starbucks gift card and wrote me a note thanking me for speaking up, stating, “[Your letter] deserves so much more than a coffee…but I couldn’t allow my daughter to bring a case of beer on campus [for you].” When my wife and I went out on date night, strangers recognized us and secretly bought our dinner. They left a note, “Thank you for standing up for freedom and giving all of us courage to do the same.”
After the open letter went viral, things moved quickly.
We had a meeting at my house with local educators and healthcare professionals. As a group, we decided to stage a school walkout starting Monday, October 18th — and continuing every Monday — to demonstrate to the community and the state what will happen to public education if school boards, local authorities, and the state enforce this mandate.
Over eight local groups jumped in to support us with their networks, encouragement, and advice. Formerly strangers, we worked non-stop in chaotic unity for weeks. We built a website within 24 hours, and we used social media to get the word out. Word spread through the whole state of California, and we received contact from every county asking for support.
On the day of the walkout, local news reported that an estimated 46% of students were absent in Shasta County. Oroville reported up to 50% of students were absent. Someone in Sacramento took initiative and planned a protest at the capitol. Over 3,000 people attended. (I’ve been in contact with them since then, and they plan another protest on Monday, November 15th at the capitol in Sacramento.) Newspapers all over the state reported on the walkout from Shasta County all the way to San Diego. Californians stood up for personal medical freedom and equal education.
At our local rally, over a thousand people attended (a lot for a rural county of only 180,000!). Three well-respected local doctors spoke of the merits of natural immunity and the concern they have for mandating this vaccine for minors, citing their strong immune systems and low-risk to Covid. That afternoon, community members picketed for over an hour downtown. The following day in a public comment session, hundreds of local concerned citizens pleaded with the Board of Supervisors to take some action — any action. In a 3-2 vote, they refused to even send a letter to the state.
Because local leaders still will not take action, the walkout continues every Monday. We’re calling it No-Mandate Mondays.
Students will miss school on Mondays, but they will receive an education in their civic duty: standing for liberty. We’re calling for a walkout every Monday until the mandates are lifted. Hold the line until our country returns to reason. Stand firm until either school boards and local leaders declare they will not enforce these mandates or state officials lift these mandates. Although they will miss school, we believe they should try to maintain their learning, so we recommend students email their teachers and check online learning platforms such as Google Classroom to stay up to date with missed assignments.
This whole experience was a surreal whirlwind for us.
Just three weeks ago I was a happy teacher, doing what I love: teaching literature, rhetoric, and composition. I just wanted to teach English, go home, and spend time with my wife and 1-year-old son.
The letter snowballed, pulling my life into the public spotlight in ways I never anticipated nor ever wanted.
We were pulled into the spotlight in our community because of our convictions to stand up for liberty, fighting to make sure no child would be denied an equal, in-person education, and for the medical freedom to make decisions like this with a personal doctor.
Sadly, fear has gripped our nation for almost two years now, to the point where many deny the rational, science-based truth of natural immunity. But we must move forward in a spirit of love. As Abraham Lincoln stated in his Second Inaugural Address, we should have “malice toward none [and] charity towards all” and we should strive “to bind up the nation’s wounds.” But we must also have a sound mind: sensible judgment, reason, and logic. Heartfelt compassion without firm, reasonable, and sensible judgment has led us to the current state of medical tyranny.
We must return from the brink of this insanity. Now is the time to take a stand. Now is the time to rise up as a nation, be courageous, and stand for what is right. We must even risk being fired.
Pray for our nation, and stand with us on No-Mandate Mondays. In protest and solidarity, hold your children out of school every Monday and teach them their civic duty: to fight for liberty. Have your children write a letter to their school board, local officials, or state representatives.
Remember, this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. But sometimes it takes a little bravery to keep it free.
Martin Reid has a teaching credential from Simpson University and a Master’s in Educational Research from National University. He has been teaching honors and college prep English in northern California for nine years, as well as coaching basketball, tennis, golf, and Mock Trial.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.