Bakersfield · Education

Mask revolt forces Kern Co. K-12 district to shutter classes on Monday

It’s not winter weather keeping the Tehachapi Unified School District closed, it’s controversy surrounding mask mandates.

The Tehachapi Unified School District canceled classes Friday and Monday because hundreds of students refuse to wear masks, violating state mandates.

A statement released Thursday night says in part, “staff and administration have been stretched thin in attempts to maintain a safe learning environment for students and staff.”

Some parents say they won’t send their children to school wearing masks.

“My kids have never masked, because they’re on medical exemptions,” said Deanna Maciejewski, a local parent. “I chose that wasn’t best for my kids. But I think it should be the parents’ choice. But taking away school is not the answer, they’ve already been out of school for two years.”

Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson tells 17 News about 400 of the school’s 4,130 students refuse to wear masks.

“If they continue to cancel after Monday, we will likely take our kids out of the school system and home school them,” said Maciejewski.

This comes a week after the district made headlines after groups of students were removed from class for not wearing masks. Administrators plan to re-evaluate the situation on Monday. That’s when Superintendent Larson-Everson says she hopes the governor will let parents choose whether their kids will put on a mask before going to class.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.