California siblings expelled from school after refusing to wear masks in class full of students

The children cited religious reasons for not wearing their masks

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A brother and sister have been expelled from a charter school in California after they staunchly refused to wear masks citing religious reasons. Their refusal caused the entire campus to go on lockdown.

According to FOX 11, this week Victoria and Drew Nelson, of Temecula, California were forcibly removed from school property on what turned out to be both their first and last day of class at Springs Charter School. 

The removal took place after administrators informed all the students they would either have to comply with COVID-19 prevention guidelines and wear a mask, or leave their classrooms altogether to avoid potentially infecting other students. 

Drew, a senior, refused to comply and was sent to the principal’s office, but his sister Victoria, a junior, refused to leave the classroom, causing her teacher to evacuate the entire room to protect her classmates. The teen said that when she attempted to follow the group out of the room, she was blocked from getting close to them.

“When I would go left, she would follow me and when I was trying to go around her and she would block me so eventually I just kind of gave up,” Victoria later told FOX 11 during an interview.

Eventually Victoria conceded and went to the principal’s office to join her brother where she recorded the exchange between her and educators.

“I need you to stand up or we will have to physically remove you from this classroom,” said the principal, to which the student replied, “Please do not touch me.”

Ultimately, a school resource officer (SRO) had to be called to resolve the matter. SROs are only called by school officials when there is an imminent threat to the students and staff. The school declined to elaborate on what threat the two teens presented, citing privacy concerns. 

Following the altercation, the school released an official statement clarifying that in the state of California there are no religious exemptions for mask mandates in school settings.

“As a public charter school, Springs Charter Schools is requiring to comply with all CDPH orders, including the mask mandate, in order to protect the health and safety of our staff and students, which is our highest priority. To this end, students and staff are required to wear a mask while in school facilities.” read the statement.

“There are no religious exemptions in the state mask order, nor has the right to an exemption even been recognized by the supreme court because it’s a neutral law of general application to protect public health.”

Victoria said that although she is disappointed about her expulsion, she stands behind her beliefs which prevent her from complying with coronavirus mask mandates.

“We thought the school would care about what we believe in, but they didn’t even care enough to listen,” she explained. 

Her father, Gary Nelson, also voiced his concerns about the hyper-focus on making people wear masks. 

“This is just getting beyond and beyond uncalled for,” he said.

But legal expert Jessica Levinson told FOX 11 that the school did the right thing.

“Regardless of whether or not you’re deeply religious or an atheist, Muslim or a Christian, it applies to you,” said Levinson.

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