MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With signs in hand, some parents of Catholic school students made it clear Tuesday morning outside the Archdiocese of Miami headquarters that they don’t want masks to be required in their schools anymore.
“As parents, we deserve the right and we have the right to voice our opinion,” said Orlando Valdez.READ MORE: Missing North Miami Beach Teen Jeimy Henrriquez Has Been Found
He went to the Miami Shores protest with his daughter, a fifth-grader at Saint Timothy Parish School.
“We brought our daughter so she could learn what it means to stand up,” he said.
The parents and some students said they were standing up to the Archdiocese which, starting this week, only allows fully vaccinated students to take off their masks in classrooms.
The parents and their supporters said that feels as if they are being forced to vaccinate their children.
“We oppose the vaccination of children by mandate, these should be parental choices,” said Dr. Rafael Diaz Yoserev.
South Florida’s Catholic school system has typically followed what the counties’ public schools have done.READ MORE: Officials: Man On American Airlines Flight From Guatemala Hitched Ride To Miami Inside Plane's Landing Gear
Miami-Dade and Broward public schools recently decided every student could take off their mask at school. In Miami-Dade, parents must complete a back-to-school opt-out form and return it to their child’s school.
The Archdiocese of Miami, however, decided to keep masks optional only for vaccinated students. The parents say they want the choice for their children.
“If you’re in a demographic that’s more likely to have a serious consequence, you should get vaccinated, absolutely. But for the kids, to put a mandate on that, I have a huge problem with that,” said Valdez.
In response to the parents’ protest, the Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement. It read in part:
“As always, the Archdiocese is led by the best interests of the health and well being of its 31,000 students and employees in our Catholic schools.
The Archdiocese administrators consult daily with a team of independent medical experts regarding any revisions to ADOM’s COVID-19 policy. When an update is announced, parents are notified by their child(ren)’s school principal; media are also alerted.”MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
Last week, the Archdiocese said its mask protocols would be reviewed again at the beginning of December.