A high school in Los Angeles County is prohibiting unvaccinated students from participating in their graduation ceremony, according to reports.
After prohibiting unvaccinated seniors from attending prom and senior awards night, Granada Hills Charter High School is banning unvaccinated students from its graduation ceremony on June 2.
Instead of attending the ceremony, Granada Hills Charter High School offers remote participation to 70 unvaccinated seniors by having their names called while their other classmates walk the stage.
One Granada Hills senior, Andrew Luna, said the situation is “heartbreaking” and added he felt “abandoned” by the school he “worked so hard for.”
After the school did remote learning throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Granada Hills High announced that only vaccinated students may return to campus for the current spring semester.
The unvaccinated students were enrolled in the school’s online independent study program, preventing them from being engaged in extracurricular activities on campus.
“Besides that, it was just the events on school campus, relationships with friends and just a lot I had to give up, essentially,” Luna told CBS News.
It is not just a matter of participating in the upcoming graduation ceremony for Luna and other seniors. Rather, they feel they are standing up for the next class of unvaccinated seniors.
“Us seniors, we might be shot, but the next grade, the next grade after that, they’ll get to be on campus and that’s what we’re fighting for, the future essentially,” Luna said.
Parents of those banned from the graduation ceremony are understandably frustrated as well.
“Right before graduation, he’s being told that he can’t graduate on stage. That’s not right,” Luna’s father, Tom, said.
He added that his son is willing to get tested for coronavirus before the graduation ceremony, but the school would not allow that.
“Andrew is willing to be tested, there’s no reason he can’t get tested and then go into school just to graduate,” he said. “They told us it was because of an uptick in COVID cases that this mandate occurred. But we know that’s not the case because they planned this last year.”
As a charter school, Granada Hills Charter High School is outside the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Unified School District, which has delayed its vaccine mandate two times, pushing the upcoming vaccine requirement back to July 2023.
Granada Hills high responded to the criticism in a statement provided to CBSLA.
“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 high school said.