SAN DIEGO- Sharon McKeeman is a local mother of four and founded “Let Them Breathe” in March 2021 to fight the mask mandates for children and adults.
She agreed to do an interview with NBC 7, but declined to release details of her personal life because she said she has been receiving death threats. She said the threats are “sad” because she said she wants what all parents do: what is best for their children.
School authorities made a presentation on the dangers of
McKeeman, a former art teacher, is speaking out against what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics say – that masks work if worn correctly. Those organizations support universal masking in schools, regardless of vaccination status.
“We hear science say that these cloth masks have very low efficacy for our children,” he said.
NBC 7 asked McKeeman about the science or numbers to back up her claim, and she pointed to her lawsuit filed this week against the San Diego Unified School District over vaccine mandates.
“I am very careful not to share any number because you know what? We can always argue about numbers. I leave that to the lawyers. If people want to read numbers and studies, they can read the full complaint, “he said.
The mandate was approved in the San Diego Unified School District
McKeeman believes that school districts lack legal authority for vaccine mandates and said that people should have the right to choose.
“There was one night when I just started the Facebook group and I was like ‘well I hope some people will join in,’” he laughed.
According to social media followers, McKeeman estimated his group to be made up of 30,000 parents in California and other parts of the country.
McKeeman lives in North County with her husband, who is in the military, and four children who attend public schools.
NBC 7 asked if she and eligible family members were vaccinated.
“I do not share my vaccination status or my children, but again I will say that we are an option in this new vaccine.”
She thinks she has had COVID-19 at least once, maybe two. And their children too.
“All my children have had COVID (-19) and have recovered very quickly,” he said. “I know they have a very strong natural immunity.”
Members of “Let Them Breathe” and its affiliate “Let Them Choose” drew attention by demonstrating outside and sometimes disrupting school board meetings throughout California.
McKeeman said the group advocates for positive and peaceful protests, but cannot always control people’s actions.
The group, which is now a registered non-profit organization, has two GoFundMe pages. One has raised over $ 150,000. McKeeman said the money is used for his legal fees to fight the mask and vaccine mandates.
GoFundMe sites are not the organization’s only source of income. On the “Let Them Breathe” website, McKeeman sells garden signs, tote bags, clothing and “Let Them Breathe” logo stickers.
“Obviously, there are other things that are involved, like our newsletter, which is very large, so it is maintenance,” he said.
When NBC 7 asked McKeeman what qualified her to speak on topics related to medicine and science, she responded, “I would say that parents are some of the most qualified to speak right now because we are seeing what is happening with our children. My son hardly survived last year. My oldest son, not because of COVID (-19), because of the mental health impacts of school closings and restrictions like masking. “
And while the majority of eligible Californians have chosen to get vaccinated, McKeeman said she believes many parents support her and her organization’s beliefs.
“I definitely don’t think we are in the minority, I think most families are defending the option,” he said.
As for the validity of the group’s lawsuit, Let Them Breathe’s attorney, Lee Andlein, said the school district is overreaching.
“State law says that if a child is vaccinated with 10 vaccines that are defined by California statute, then the school must admit those students,” Andelin said. “Only the California Department of Public Health has the authority to add to that list. Individual school districts don’t have that authority, California law is pretty clear on that. “
The state has imposed a vaccine mandate for students and staff, but with a longer deadline.
The lawsuit argued that children who are unable to attend school due to immunization status will be harmed and their rights are being violated because there is no personal beliefs exemption.
“The risk-benefit analysis just doesn’t add up for most kids,” Andelin said. “You know, depending on their risk profile and they have the constitutional right to make those decisions for themselves.”
Legal analyst Dan Eaton said the district denied the waivers because they provide too large a loophole.
“One of the things they’re saying is that the state really has sole authority to set these vaccine mandates,” Eaton said. “And the San Diego Unified School District has gone too far in asserting an individualized mandate.”
Let Them Breathe is also suing the Los Angeles Unified School District for the same reason.