Granada Hills Charter High School is holding its graduation ceremony on Thursday. Unfortunately for 70 students in the graduating class of about 1,100 seniors, they will not walk with their classmates because they are not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last fall, Granada Hills Charter announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students and staff, following the lead of the Los Angeles Unified School District. But while LAUSD has repeatedly delayed enforcing its mandate (now July 2023 at the earliest), Granada Hills Charter officials chose to enforce theirs.
Since the beginning of the spring semester, students not vaccinated against COVID-19 have been barred from attending class on campus, and seniors have been blocked from senior prom, senior awards day, and other school events.
Finally, they are being blocked from attending graduation in person — even though the ceremony is being held outside, according to the school’s website. Guests will also be forced to prove vaccination.
“I feel like I’ve earned these events, like Grad Night, prom,” senior student Andrew Luna told the Los Angeles Daily News. “I did all four years at this school. For them to take [these events] from me at my final moment, of course it’s upsetting.”
Students banned from attending the graduation ceremony will be able to “participate” remotely, the Daily News reported.
A protest was held outside Granada Hills Charter High School on Tuesday, where parents expressed anger over the “egregious discrimination” of the school’s policy, KTLA-TV reported.
Unfortunately, school officials are defending their policy, claiming in a statement that it is “in the best interest of our students, all of whom attend voluntarily as GHC is a school of choice.”
“Our community asked for and has overwhelmingly supported our student vaccine policy, as demonstrated by our 99% vaccination rate amongst those who are eligible to be vaccinated,” the statement added. “Our Board stands by the science that indicates that vaccination is the most and effective tool available to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safest learning environment possible.”
Shockingly, the school even prohibited special education students from walking in the graduation ceremony.