(REASON) – When 15-year-old Ellah Nahum and a few other unvaccinated students showed up at Los Angeles’ New West Charter School on Tuesday, January 18, after winter break, they brought lunches, backpacks, and negative COVID-19 tests, hoping to be allowed in. They’d been negotiating with school administrators since early October, when the school had announced that a vaccine mandate would go into effect in January. Prior to returning to school from winter break, they’d requested a hearing, attempting to find alternative options to getting vaccinated.
When they showed up at school around 7:30 a.m., they sailed through the first checkpoint, run by two newly hired security guards who were satisfied with the girls’ proof of negative test conducted in the last 24 hours. It was the second checkpoint, run by school administrators demanding proof of vaccination, that created trouble for the teens. Several hours later, after tense negotiations between administrators, teens, and their parents, the school called Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) to the scene, and cordoned the teens off, denying them chairs and bathroom breaks, according to the girls.