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Ridgefield HS students stage walkout to protest Washington mask mandate

Published: Feb. 9, 2022 at 11:52 AM PST
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RIDGEFIELD, Wash. (KPTV) - Oregon announced it would end its mask requirement for schools on March 31. Now, some students at Ridgefield High School are hoping Washington will follow suit.

A group of students at Ridgefield High School walked off campus Wednesday morning in protest of the statewide mask mandate. Protest organizer Drew Harteloo said they are hoping to get the attention of state leaders and have the mandate lifted.

“We all believe we should have the freedom to choose whether or not to put a face mask on our face or not,” said Drew.

Some people drove by protesters to express their support of the mandate.

Meanwhile, some parents joined in on Wednesday’s demonstration, including Drew’s father, who said requiring masks in the classroom is doing more harm than good for students.

“We don’t know five years down the road what this is gonna do to their wellbeing, and these are high school kids, let alone the little kids that need to be learning,” Mike Harteloo said.

An official with the Ridgefield School District said the district supports students’ rights to peacefully protest, but will continue to answer to the state.

“Up until we are told otherwise from the state, masks will be required in the classroom, yes,” said Joe Vajgrt, communications manager with Ridgefield School District.

The deputy director of communications for Governor Jay Inslee’s office, Mike Faulk, told FOX 12 the governor is not likely to announce any plans to lift Washington’s statewide mask mandate.

Drew said if they don’t see action from state leaders soon, they will protest again.