Anti-vaccine protesters step on to Pinole Valley High School campus, harass students

West Contra Costa Unified has approved a vaccine mandate for eligible students.

In a scenario that has occurred increasingly throughout the country, anti-vaccine protesters harassed students Wednesday at Pinole Valley High School in Pinole before security asked them to leave, according to school officials.

The high school was holding its first all-day student vaccine drive on the campus Wednesday, while a group of fewer than a dozen protesters rallied across the street, said principal Kibby Kleiman. They were shouting at students to not get vaccinated.

At around 10:30 a.m., one or two of the protesters went onto the campus. Security quickly told them to leave and the protesters complied, Kleiman said.

Last Tuesday, West Contra Costa Unified approved a vaccine mandate for eligible students, requiring them to get vaccinated by November 15 or else enroll in independent study in order to stay in the district. Around a dozen parents objected to the decision, mostly citing reasons that Contra Costa County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano debunked. The next day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced all eligible California students and staff will be required to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as early as January 2022.

Kleiman said the incident Wednesday was minor and didn’t slow down the vaccine drive.

“If they want to stand out there and yell and we can get more people vaccinated I would do it every day,” Kleiman said.

At a school board meeting later that day, board president Mister Phillips issued a stern warning to the protesters:

“If you come on to campuses and harass our children, you will go to jail.”

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