By Marissa Perlman

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Thousands of parents, students and teachers walked out of school and onto the California State Capitol lawn in Sacramento, all in protest of the state vaccine mandate.

A crowd of about two thousand from all across the state converged on the capitol Monday afternoon.

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Parent Michael Zanone came in from Napa.

“I’m not going to let anyone tell me how to parent my child,” he said.

Several other parents shared the same feelings.

“I’m a mother of three and this is not the type of future that I want for my kids,” Roxanne Sandoval said.

“It feels like big pharma is trying to profit over our children’s lives,” Christine Zanone said.

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The attendance numbers for the protests will likely impact rural and smaller campuses the hardest like Banta Unified in Tracy with 310 students. Fifty-five kids were absent Monday, according to school officials. That’s an 80 percent increase over their average absentee rate, which is 30.

But San Juan Unified, one of the biggest districts in our region, also saw about 600 more absentee students compared to last Monday.

Districts saw a strong walkout, but overall, the majority of kids showed up.

“It’s not about a single person. It’s about how do we keep everyone safe as a whole,” said Katie Holman.

She is a mom of four in the Sacramento City Unified School District with an immunocompromised child. She says the vaccine shouldn’t be about politics. As soon as it’s available, she’s ready to give her kids the shot.

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“As a parent, you always want to do what’s best for your child. The vaccine isn’t political. We’ve had all of these vaccinations that are mandatory and covid just needs to be another one added to the list,” she said.