Mother Says California Boy Got Vaccinated Without Her Consent In Exchange For Pizza

"Please don't say anything. I don't want to get in trouble."
Close up of a cooked pepperoni pizza.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

A California mom said her 13-year-old son was vaccinated against COVID-19 without her consent after someone at the school offered him food to get the shot.

Maribel Duarte, whose son is a student at the Barack Obama Global Prep Academy in South Los Angeles, told NBC 4 Los Angeles that her son brought home a vaccine card from school after he agreed to get inoculated in exchange for pizza.

“The lady that gave him the shot and signed the paper told my son, ‘Please don’t say anything. I don’t want to get in trouble,’” Duarte claimed.

“It hurt to know he got a shot without my permission, without knowing and without signing any papers for him to get the shot,” she added.

Duarte herself is vaccinated and is not personally against the vaccine, but she said her son is a different case, noting that he experiences asthma and complications from allergies.

Obama Prep is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Officials there refused to comment specifically, saying that student matters are confidential, but noted that the district’s “safe schools to safe steps incentive program” provides for a number of steps to give prizes to vaccinated students.

LAUSD has imposed a vaccine mandate on students in its district that requires students ages 12 and up to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 10.  Students who remain unvaccinated by the deadline and do not have a qualified exemption will be forced to return to virtual classes. As of the Thanksgiving weekend break, 80% of students at Obama Prep were vaccinated, according to LAUSD.

The school district’s mandate is different from the vaccine mandate for public and private schools imposed by California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom on October 1st.

Jennifer Kennedy, a lawyer who is following two ongoing lawsuits against LAUSD seeking to end the district’s vaccine mandate, said that in California, children cannot legally consent to take vaccines. She further noted that the district does not have the authority to impose such a mandate.

“The LAUSD does not have the power to add a vaccine to the California school schedule,” she said. “You couldn’t do it if you were a podunk school district and you can’t do it if you’re LAUSD, the second largest district in the nation. You don’t have that legal authority.”

NBC 4 notes that new vaccination requirements are created by the state legislature and managed by the state Department of Health.

Elsewhere in California, the Calaveras Unified School District voted unanimously not to “support, enforce or comply with” the state’s vaccine mandate for its students or staff. The CUSD board also scheduled a motion to address mask mandates and COVID testing. “The board’s informal comments regarding the pending state mandates for COVID-19 vaccinations, as expressed by them individually and collectively at the October 19th Board Meeting, indicated that they have concerns and questions about the COVID-19 mandate for staff and students and they do not support the mandate,” the school district said in a letter to parents a week before the vote.

A number of groups have also rallied against the mandate, citing concerns about forced vaccinations.

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