School staff vaccine mandate sparks protests, causes librarian to leave

Nathalie Miranda

When the school district staff vaccine mandate took effect in Los Angeles, many teachers, parents and students protested at the busy intersection of Balboa and Victory Boulevards.

Protesters then marched to Los Angeles Unified School District’s Local District Northwest headquarters to show the extent of their disapproval of the mandate. They held signs that used phrases and slogans like “My body, my choice” and “Our kids are not lab rats.” 

LAUSD put in place a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on all students and staff. While students have until Jan. 1, 2022, to get their first dose, staff had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. Out of all the teachers in the district, 99% of them met the deadline and 97% of all employees are fully vaccinated

In LAUSD, about 240 teachers opted out of getting the vaccine, which led to them not showing up to school on Oct. 18. Among them was teacher-librarian Greta Enzer from Daniel Pearl Magnet High School. Both Enzer and Principal Armen Petrossian turned down requests for interviews to discuss her not returning to campus due to personnel confidentiality. 

Without a teacher-librarian, the school’s library remains closed. It’s not clear when the position will be filled but Petrossian shared that he hopes it gets filled soon. 

Another effect of the vaccine mandate was that athletes in LAUSD who have not been vaccinated are not going to be allowed to continue playing sports. At Birmingham Community Charter High School, 76% of the athletes have been vaccinated. 

Petrossian did say that about 82-90% of students at DPMHS are vaccinated. There are still parents who are speaking to him about vaccinating students but only a few students on campus aren’t going to get vaccinated. These students will be required to switch to remote learning in January when the mandate goes into effect.

Jessica Melkonyan contributed to this report.