Atascadero parents and students argue over masks, appropriate speech

March 4, 2022

Atascadero Unified School District Board


Parents and students in Atascadero are battling over the choice to wear masks and freedom of speech issues after two board members compared COVID-19 mandates to issues of racism during a contentious school district board meeting on Tuesday.

During the meeting, parents and students voiced their concerns over the alleged mistreatment of students who were protesting the mask mandate, which included prohibiting them from associating with masked students. The vast majority of speakers asked the board to immediately stop complying with the state’s mask mandate.

Atascadero Unified School Board trustees elected to wait until Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mask mandate ends on March 12. Even so, several of the trustees voiced their support of the students and parents who argued for mask and vaccine choice.

Trustee Terri Switzer compared vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany.

“I was denied access into Sierra Vista Hospital yesterday to see a family member who will probably never see sunshine again because, like the Holocaust, I couldn’t prove if I was a German or a Jew, oh I mean my vaccine status,” Switzer said.

Trustee Ray Buban then compared the administration’s treatment of protesting students to segregation.

“Your children are no longer being segregated, disrespected, and treated like third-class citizens or someone who should be sitting in the back of the bus or not being allowed to sit in the lunch counter,” Buban said.

In response to the trustees comments, a group of parents and students launched a petition calling for the recall or resignation of Buban and Switzer for alleged discriminatory speech. The petition currently has 357 signatures.

“Comparing being unvaccinated to the Holocaust is highly inappropriate and disrespectful as those who lost their lives in that event didn’t have a choice,” according to the petition. “Trustee Ray Buban’s actions are not okay. It is highly discriminatory as many members of the African American race dealt with things throughout different centuries that they couldn’t control. Those who are anti-maskers are nowhere close to what many people of color had to deal with.”

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You are free to say whatever you want but people and society are also free to call you out on what you say. Don’t get mad when you compare masks and vaccines to what the nazis did and people let you know how stupid you sound. Sorry but there is no comparison to genocide.

Related more to another CCN article, Ray Buban and Geoff Auslen have an odd business relationship.

You cant make me wear pants!!!!

Tempest in a teapot, and the snowflakes find it unbearable when the teapot gets just a tiny bit warm. Whatever happened to the notion that it is a desirable liberal virtue to think critically and systematically “Question Authority”? Stop the Cancel Culture attack on free speech, even if that speech is imprudent or indelicately expressed.

The idea that the president of the Atascadero School Board is ignorant enough to compare a Mask Mandate to The Holocaust shows the level of misinformation people are willing to spew to support the idea they don’t like masks. This idea has been said in public by some of the GOP’s dumber members. Boebert and Greene come to mind and they are as ignorant as they come.

As the President of the Board she must understand in order to attend school ALL students must be vaccinated and prove that they were vaccinated in order to attend there first day. Does she not agree with that as well?

With a moronic statement like that I wonder what other ignorant ideas this lady has?

Agreed. If you haven’t taken the vaccine by now you are part of the problem.

I think it is absolutely great that we have School Board Trustees not afraid to speak their minds and certainly represent the treasured freedoms this country has to offer. Most important is that they set a good example for our students who need not be afraid in their search to understand while speaking their minds too. It is true that the perception of others may differ but that should not keep an individual to have an opinion and take that risk in sharing. I do not condone bully behavior nor am I party to any company that did business with Hitler. That unconscionable period in human history did undermine choice and must be remembered so when we see it again, in any shade of grey, we can relate and correct.

Why I don’t like anyone comparing the Holocaust to anything, I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and am very concerned with the battle to control speech. Also, why the pro-maskers want to make everything about race, they get angry when people with different views bring up race.

I very sorry for not being more informed on the subject of race. Please explain where in the speech that race was discussed or compared?

Sure sounds like AUSD school board members need to be kicked out and replaced by board members who are human beings, who support our communities, who truly care about our children’s health and not making political statements and looking like fools. Masks are AOK, until the scientific and medical communities determine they are no longer necessary. Come on folks, wearing masks will be a very memorable time in our children’s lives, when society deemed masks necessary to help protect one another and our children, families and schools did their part to help protect the health of our children. My early years experienced school days when we were directed into underground concrete tunnels to be prepared for nuclear attack, and that did not scar me for life. Hummm – maybe our communities and schools should have been proactive to build underground survival facilities over the past 50 years, since immature, criminal Putin is threatening the world. Where were parents THEN in planning for the protection of our children. Anti-vaxers and anti-maskers should move to Russia and see what “personal freedom” life is like there! Let the schools get back to teaching and remove ALL political posturing. Let the teachers do their jobs. A bunch of parents who have nothing better to do than criticize schools that are doing everything possible to provide safe facilities for learning, including wearing masks when deemed helpful.


There is no longer “truth” in science, when that “science” has been hijacked not only by politicians for political means, but also by the medical community for monetary gain.

I don’t know if you are living in a bubble, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but there has been quite a lot of new information coming out about this whole “pandemic” thing since its beginning in 2020. Perhaps it’s time for you to pop your bubble and come up to speed on the “science.”

And while you are coming up to speed on all of that new info, perhaps you might consider changing your screen name to, whatistruthinscience.

What’s this new information about this whole “pandemic” thing? Did it not happen? We are at about 1 million deaths, millions of hospitalizations and millions more with long covid.