Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – During a vaccination clinic Friday afternoon, May 28 at McKinleyville High School, anti-vaccine protesters taunted students, called them Nazis and falsely claimed that they were being sterilized.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene after a school nurse was allegedly threatened by a man wearing a red clown nose.
“It was gnarly,” said Johnny Kell, the school nurse for the Northern Humboldt Union High School District, which oversees McKinleyville, Arcata, Pacific Coast, Six Rivers Charter and Mad River high schools.
Friday’s vaccination clinic, held in Mack High’s gym in conjunction with Open Door Clinic, was the second clinic held at the school on Murray Road. Another clinic was held three weeks prior.
On Friday, some of the students were getting their second Pfizer shot, giving them protection against COVID-19, which has killed 594,000 people in the United States as of May 29. Worldwide, 3.5 million people have died of COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.
All students under 18 years of age are required to have parental permission before getting the vaccine.
“We timed it so they could do prom and graduation,” Kell said about the vaccinations.
Kell said he was at Arcata High School Friday afternoon when he received a call that protesters had gathered at McKinleyville High and were confronting students as they entered the parking lot.
“I drove down and did my due diligence,” Kell said.
Kell said that one student was driving a car and trying to enter the parking lot when protesters approached her vehicle and began shoving pamphlets in her face. Kell said the student couldn’t see whether it was safe to continue driving, so her car was partially in the roadway and she waited for protesters to move.
“They’re creating a dangerous environment,” Kell said. “I was pissed that they were harassing students.”
Kell said that when he confronted the protesters, a maskless woman approached him with her mouth wide open. “The first threat was a woman walking at me and threatening to stick her tongue down my throat,” said Kell, who added that he retreated back inside the school when this happened.
Another protester wearing a red clown nose allegedly threatened to hunt down the school nurse and kill him.
“He said he was going to find me in the community and kill me,” Kell wrote on the McKinleyville Community Watch Facebook page. “When I informed him that he should not have said that and told a sheriff deputy that he said it he came over and said ‘oh I just said I was going to find him in the community and give him COVID by breathing on him.’ That’s definitely not what he said at first but I’m not sure his revision makes it any better.”
Kell said that he called law enforcement and deputies arrived. Kell said he asked to report the threats, but a deputy refused and called his actions immature.
“I was upset and I was telling them why I was upset because they were harassing my kids,” Kell said.
In a video shot by protester Elaine Zeigler and posted on Facebook, Kell is shown standing behind a chain-link fence holding a sign stating “Free Vaccine Today.” Kell and Zeigler debate the vaccine and trade barbs.
“Where do you get your information?” Kell says to Zeigler.
At one point, she responds “Do you hear how condescendingly you’re talking to me?”
Holding his sign above his head, Kell says “It makes me so happy that I get to counter you guy’s weird lies with a free vaccine. I love it! I love everything about it. It’s so amazing.”
Zeigler responds “Are you like on something. You seem like you’re on coke or something.”
“Now you are going to accuse me of being on something?” Kell says.
“It seems like you are,” Zeigler says.
“How rude is that?” Kell says.
“You’re the one being rude,” Zeigler says.
“I’m being rude?” Kell responds.
“Yeah, you’re being rude,” Zeigler says.
“How am I being rude?” Kell says.
“Do you not hear yourself speaking?” Zeigler says.
Kell and Zeigler can be heard often speaking over each other as they debate the vaccine’s safety and question each other’s information sources.
Zeigler’s Facebook page identifies the protesters as being part of a group called Stand Up Humboldt.
“Our group Stand Up Humboldt will be at McKinleyville High today at 3:30 speaking out against a mass v clinic being held there this afternoon,” states a May 25 posting by Zeigler on her Facebook page. “Students are being coerced into taking this experimental in jekt shun [sic]. Please join us in taking a stand for our youth!”
The protesters reportedly told students that the vaccine would sterilize them. They were also called Nazis, and one students was called a pedophile.
“As students arrived to get vaccinated two of the protesters chanted ‘Nazi Nazi.’ I interviewed a student with their permission afterwards and they said the protester called him a Jew with Bill Gates microchips inside of them,” Kell wrote on Facebook.
“I’m frustrated that this is the example adults are setting for our young people and as their school nurse I will fight like hell to make sure they get safe and accurate information about the vaccine,” Kell stated.
According to John Hopkins Medicine,”The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility... Getting COVID-19, on the other hand, can have potentially serious impact on pregnancy and the mother’s health.”