PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Protesters against student vaccine mandates, along with anti-maskers, forced a Portland Public School Board meeting to take place virtually, as the board was set to discuss a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students 12-and-older.
The meeting drew a crowd of at least 100 parents and students when the Board Chair decided to move it online after upwards of a dozen people in attendance refused to put on a mask.
“It was upsetting to see that parents basically took away the voices of students in an in-person setting” Lincoln High School senior Xander Levine said.
“One of the agenda items, the discussion about a vaccine mandate for students age 12 and older, garnered substantial public interest. Numerous attendees entered the Blanchard Education Service Center unmasked. PPS is adhering to the statewide masking requirement to protect the safety of staff, students and the public.” PPS said in a press release.
KOIN 6 News spoke with parents and students on both sides of the issue.
“I’m not anti-vaccine, I’m anti-mandate and I think that needs to be very clear,” Jamee Franklin, a mother of a PPS student, said.
A majority of the attendees wore masks, including a father who says he doesn’t agree with a vaccine requirement. The father, who did not give his name, explained to the board that those who wanted to attend the meeting should have put on masks and “discussed the issues that are important that were on the table for tonight.”
The board had no plans on voting for the possible mandate during the meeting, but is set to vote November 2.