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Shingle Springs Teacher On Paid Leave For Supporting Students In Protest Of Mask Mandate

SHINGLE SPRINGS (CBS13) – A local teacher is on paid leave after showing support for students who ditched their masks in the classroom.

Earlier this week, 50 students at Ponderosa High School protested the school's mask mandate in what they're now calling "No-Mandate Monday."

Michael Wilkes, a business technology teacher at the Shingle Springs high school, said he chose to join the students by removing his mask during class. Later that day, he was told he was placed on administrative leave.

Michael told CBS13 he wasn't surprised.

"Going into it, I knew obviously as a teacher, if I chose to support these students in protest, there would be professional consequences," he said.

Now, Michael says he believes his job is at stake.

Lexi Wagner is also paying the price for the protest. The Ponderosa High School senior helped spur the movement. Her mom, Andi Wagner, says Lexi has been "removed from class multiple times and ultimately asked to find 'alternative learning' because she will not comply."

Another No-Mandate Monday is scheduled for next week. This time, Andi says all El Dorado County schools will be involved, not just Ponderosa High School. In a Facebook post announcing the protest, she asked her followers to "Please share and let's see those smiles."

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