OAKDALE (CBS13) — Hundreds of students in Oakdale were banned from class for not wearing their masks.
The students say they were following Gov. Gavin Newsom's example after photos showed him maskless at the NFC Championship Game over the weekend.
The students were bare-faced and packed into the Oakdale High School gym. Freshman Nolan Harris was one of them.
"By the end of the day, there was about a hundred kids in there," he said.
Throughout Oakdale Unified's seven campuses, more than a hundred other students ditched their masks, too, in protest of Newsom's mask mandate.
"If they don't follow by their own rules that they're trying to force upon me, why should I follow them," Harris said.
Oakdale parent Melissa Goodman shared pictures of dozens of moms and dads outside their child's school to show their support.
"They don't want to get in trouble, they don't want to disrespect their teachers," said Goodman, whose son is a senior at Oakdale High School. "But they also want the right to share their smiles and breathe freely."
All demonstrations were peaceful, but Superintendent Dr. Dave Kline says learning was disrupted. He sent a letter to parents stressing the importance of keeping students in the classroom.
"They just aren't doing enough," Goodman said. "Can they do everything? No, but they can do something."
While the district braces for more demonstrations, Harris says he plans to be on campus, maskless, again.
"When you face hardship, just because you're going through a tough time doesn't mean you should back down and give up on what you believe in," Harris said.
The superintendent says none of the students involved are facing any disciplinary action.
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