San Diego Students Booted From Class For No Masks Say They're Following Gov's Lead

Newsom wasn't wearing a mask in a photo he took with Magic Johnson at the 2022 NFC Championship game

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The ripple effects of Governor Gavin Newsom's controversial maskless photo with NBA legend Magic Johnson at the NFC Championship game over the weekend have reached school districts in San Diego County.

Some students are saying they shouldn't have to wear their masks in the classroom because Governor Newsom, it seems to them, doesn't have to wear his out in public. At least three local students were sent home from school this week after taking that stance.

“This is what happens when you stand up for your rights," Carmel High School student Kaia Sabino said in a video posted to Instagram. Her comment came after she was escorted off campus Monday for refusing to cover her face.

"There must not be a big danger if the Governor, who is supposed to be our example, has chosen to remove his mask, so it gave her the confidence to know, 'Then I can go to school now without my mask,'" Kaia's mother Chrystal Sabino said.

The Poway Unified School District sent a letter to the Sabino home saying that without a mask, Kaia is a "clear and present danger" and can't return to school without a mask.

Harrison Jones, a student at Sullivan Middle School in Bonsall, shared photos of himself and more than 40 others who were told to leave for refusing to wear their masks.

"I kind of just told the kids, 'You have the option now to not wear a mask. If you get in trouble I won’t be mad at you,'" Harrison's mother Lindsay Jones told NBC 7.

A Steele Canyon High Schooler, who wished only to be identified as Madisyn, said she was kicked out of school twice this week for not wearing a mask.

"The governor is supposed to be setting an example and I felt like he wasn’t," Madisyn said.

There's a good chance she'll be kicked out of class a third time.

"I am going to try and sit in my classroom again and learn, and I'm not going to leave unless I am forced out of the classroom," she said.

The Sabinos, and Madisyn’s parents, say they aren't part of any organized group fighting district mask mandates.

California’s mask mandate requires face coverings in all public indoor places, or outside in common areas at mega-events with over 5,000 people.

Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and San Francisco Mayor London Breed were all photographed with Johnson, without face coverings. Johnson posted the images on his Twitter page.

In response to criticism, Newsom said he took his mask off for the photo and " ... the rest of the time I wore it, as we all should."

Newsom was also heavily criticized early in the pandemic for attending a party at a luxury restaurant that went against indoor gathering mandates the state had in place at the time. The event helped spur the recall effort that Newsom defeated in September.

The state's latest indoor mask mandate was instituted due to a spike in COVID cases over the holidays. It expires Feb. 15.

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