Protests against Governor Jay Inslee’s mask and vaccine mandates for school took place at Monday’s Sunnyside School District’s Board of Directors meeting.
In contrast to some of the more dramatic scenes that have played out in the national news, concerned community members waited masked and silently until their opportunity to speak and said their peace, with no disruption to the regular proceedings.
Board President Michelle Perry started the public comment period noting that they, “Likely agreed with the commentors but that their hands were tied,” due to the state’s threat to take away funding if districts didn’t comply, something Perry said would cause a loss of teachers and the shutting down of schools.
Of the several people who spoke, some echoed a statement by Gary LaPiere who said the District should, “Take a stand and pushback,” with one speaker noting they would be willing to risk the funding threat.
Cori Visser expressed concerns about bullying possibilities noting that both kids and adults could be “shot shamed” for not getting the vaccine.
Local health officials along with the State Department of Health and Federal Government have all stated that the vaccine is safe and best way to battle the pandemic along with masking.
The union representing the teachers of the district, the Sunnyside Education Association, did not provide a comment as of press time.
Of the roughly 10 people who spoke at the meeting all expressed skepticism about the science behind the mandates, but many acknowledged the challenge the Board faced.