Fact check: No staff or students quit Illinois school amid vaccine protest

·2 min read

The claim: Protest at an Illinois high school included people 'quitting' due to vaccine mandate

An image that shows a trail of dozens of pairs of shoes has circulated on social media claiming it shows a mass walkout in protest of vaccine mandates.

"WOW Powerful image from a high school in Crystal Lake School District in Illinois" reads the caption of a Sept. 28 Facebook post. "Each pair of shoes is from a person quitting because of V mandates & weekly testing. Each person wrote a note explaining why they quit."

The post amassed more than 37,000 shares within a week. Similar versions of this claim accumulated thousands of shares.

But a spokesperson for the school district told USA TODAY there is no relation between the demonstration and anyone quitting.

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USA TODAY reached out to the user behind the Sept. 28 post for comment.

No mass departures from protest

The claim is vaguely worded in a way that could refer to either staff or students "quitting," but Denise Barr, the director of communications for Crystal Lake Elementary District 47, said neither happened.

"We received no reports of student absences, walkouts or unenrollments related to this event," Barr said in an email. "We have not had dozens of (staff) resignations this year; only a few and for a variety of reasons."

The mandate being protested applies throughout the state of Illinois, not just in Crystal Lake.

The statewide executive order requires school personnel on the premises to show proof of full vaccination or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing beginning Sept. 19. The mandate applies to anyone working for or entering a school where they may come in contact with students for more than 15 minutes.

The social media post also claims the protest was staged at a high school, but Barr said Crystal Lake is an elementary school district that serves pre-K to 8th grade students. The protest was held outside the main entrance of the District 47 administrative office.

Barr said the protest was arranged by adults, not students.

"As far as we know, the demonstration mentioned on Facebook was organized by adult members of our community, some of whom could have been parents and staff," she said.

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Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a protest at an Illinois high school included people "quitting" due to a vaccine mandate. A district spokesperson told USA TODAY there has been no large volume of students or staff quitting.

Our fact-check sources:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: No staff or students quit Illinois school over vaccines

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