Lauren Becerra hoped that this school year would be a return to normal for her 6-year-old son, Steven.

“He was ready to go, we got him school supplies and a backpack, and then we found out he had to be masked up,” Becerra, of Eldorado, said of the statewide mandate requiring unvaccinated kids to wear masks in public school. “He wants to go to school, but we won’t send him with a mask. Now he is going to be home again.”

Becerra was among 35 people who gathered Saturday at Alta Vista Street and St. Francis Drive to protest school mask mandates, as coronavirus cases continue to surge. Similar protests were held across the state.

“It’s this fake flu they are putting our children through,” said Becerra’s mother, Beverly Cordova. “To require masks on everybody, whether you are vaccinated or not, is discrimination. They are bullying us.”

On Monday, the state Public Education Department released its COVID-19 safety guidelines, which ease face mask requirements for vaccinated students in middle and high school. Yet the state will continue to require masks in elementary schools.

“We’re pushing for NO mask mandates for schools,” Sarah Smith, one of the organizers of the protests, said in an email. “Kids are suffering from numerous health issues related to the masks, including blacking out, nosebleeds, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, and anxiety.”

“Kids can’t breathe,” Santa Fe resident David Mulberry said of masks.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “The vast majority of children age 2 or older can safely wear face masks for extended periods of time, such as the school day or at child care.”

Many at the protest in Santa Fe held signs displaying anti-mask and anti-vaccination statements. One woman, wearing green medical scrubs, held a homemade T-shirt that read: “Depriving your child of Oxygen is ABUSE. Sincerely, Registered Nurse.”

“We’re used to the [middle] fingers,” another protester said of the anger expressed by drivers passing by.

Kristi Dyer, who organized the Santa Fe event, said the movement against mask mandates has continued to grow over

the summer.

At least three teachers from Santa Fe schools came to protest the mask requirement.

Many at the event shared concerns about the legitimacy of the pandemic, the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, and the perceived profiteering of pharmaceutical companies.

“It’s not a vaccine,” David Gordon said. “It’s a genetic experiment.”

On Thursday, the state Department of Health reported 401 new cases of the coronavirus, the most infections in a single day in five months. July saw a steady rise in cases, largely spurred by the highly infectious delta variant, which health experts say could be particularly damaging in communities with low vaccination rates.

For Becerra and others at the event, vaccination is not an option.

“He is not getting it, ever,” Becerra said of her son, citing concerns over the lack of Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccine. “None of us are.”

(50) comments

Tom Hyland

Thanks to Mark Coble for reminding everyone that the censure button is well greased at this newspaper. Every time I've asked WHERE is the virus? Where is the evidence that it's been isolated, identified, procured as a pure specimen? That comment gets deleted. Still, after all the lockdowns, the businesses lost, the people unable to visit their loved ones, everyone wearing masks and lining up to be vaccinated, there's no proof the virus exists. A Canadian named Patrick King forced the Alberta Court to admit it has no evidence to show cause that this "pandemic" is fueled by anything, but lies. Alberta has just announced all businesses open, all schools open mask-free, and life is to return to normal. The flu, which is all it ever was, will be regarded as such. This court victory for the People should spread globally.

Tom Hyland

The purpose of this article is to ridicule people who protest the wearing of masks. No comments are allowed from people who have a differing point of view. This article is not journalism, this newspaper is not journalism. This is activism for one agenda and no other. The comments section here is a pile-on where anyone who objects will be insulted and vilified and there's no ability to reply. You commentators and this newspaper are pathetic. This is not journalism.... it's activism.

Lupe Molina

No. It's evidenced based research. You're just too entitled and selfish to accept facts.

Tom Hyland

You choose your evidence and I choose mine. The results depend entirely upon your belief system, not science. Using words like "entitled" and selfish" is racist. That's anti-White and you know it. You will turn that around to your own benefit at any opportunity. Using the most tired old phrase of all time, "conspiracy theories", is proof you have no curiosity and no desire to seek information other than what you are fed by the MSM information machinery. Using the phrase discounts your credibility entirely. This is evidence of tiny myopic thinking. I am a conspiracy analyst. There's so much to review.

Khal Spencer

Comments are just that: comments. I don't see any First Amendment violations here.

Tom Hyland

If you can't read the comment, because it's been deleted, that's a First Amendment violation. I've posted three or four comments under this article, every one of them differing from the blatant agenda which is to vilify people who protest masks. My comments last a couple of hours and then they are deleted.

mark Coble

Yes, SFNM censors any rational questions. Why is that? Because the MUST follow "style" guidelines of NYT LAT WAPO ete., or they can't reprint articles. So, yeah, SFNM is far, far from independent.

Lucille Armijo

The Becerra family is a disgrace to our community.

Comment deleted.
Lupe Molina

It's so incredibly easy to find accurate information and yet you take precious time out of your short time here on earth to peddle conspiracy theories that can get people hurt. Twilight Zone indeed. Hint: you're still breathing oxygen when wearing a mask. That's why DOCTORS WEAR THEM DURING SUGERY. Here is the fact check on your PCR claim:

Carolyn DM

It would be great if there was a requirement for the brainwashed, anti-masker and anti-vaxxer cultists to wear their Red MAGA hats while out in public so we'd all know who to stay away from.

mark Coble

Perhaps yellow star?

Alan Courtney

You can't fix stupid.

Khal Spencer

I hope the PED is going to provide decent KN95 type masks to the kids, and teach them to wear them. Otherwise, this is a half measure. We need a shot that is safe for the kids. Heck, we routinely got vaccinated as kids. I think I was in that first age group that was safeguarded from polio.

I saw those people protesting at Alta Vista several times. Just rolled my eyes. Its one thing if you want to compete for the Darwin Award with your own life. Don't pass the risk on to others.

Diane Gonzales

The trials for vaccinating kids 5 yrs. - 11 yrs. old will be completed soon and they will be ready for that age group around the first part of December. These trials have been slower than the others because of the age group. It will certainly be a big sigh of relief when they start inoculating the kids.

Khal Spencer


Stephen Hauf

One more thing- I am among the teachers who went back to school in April and during time ALL WORE masks. We were fine. Throughout humankind's lives, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide levels vary in our species from moment to moment.

In fact, during sleep, each night it is likely Carbon Dioxide levels are higher in one's bloodstream in most humans than during the waking hours because breathing rate slows. I hedge my comment here because those in the medical profession who do patient sleep studies see variation among patients.

Notta Ray Cist

David Gordon believes the earth is flat. No, seriously, he does. He was also planning on running for Governor.

David Gordon

I believe in God only and scientifically observe the nature of Creation as a religious study. We can see Mt. Taylor 100 miles away from Santa Fe. Impossible on a sphere. I was short-quoted above. I said, "It is not a vaccine. At best it is a genetic experiment, at worst a graphene oxide injection." Science does not lie, scientists do depending on who pays them.

Laura Stokes

You've probably never heard of a mirage.

Nancy Murata

God gave you a brain, He must be disappointed you're not using it.

Stephen Hauf

1. MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) as a child I had them all and I am fortunate not to be among those who did not lose eyesight and hearing. The renowned Helen Keller was not so fortunate. I was spared the ravages of Polio, but a childhood friend wore braces on his legs because he was not. I did get the Polio Vaccine and my mother made sure I got it in a hurry. 2. I assume the Genetic Experiment comment refers to the delivery of the vaccine using mRNA ( messenger ribonucleic acid) A Virus is its own genetic experiment and Virii has been doing this to mankind for as long as our species has existed. 3. I cannot even imagine the trillions of times every cell in my body has undergone changes because of mRNA. mRNA vaccines are just a very effective way of locking the door on hostile viruses that may infect us.

4. I would have gladly foregone the Chicken Pox although the Pox party was fun, but not so much for my friends two weeks later. Neither was The three weeks in a very dark room with the measles and the wrenching painful head and earaches of the Mumps.

My older cousin told me that getting the Mumps meant getting Ice cream on demand. I screamed a lot during my Mumps according to my mother's recollection years later.

Masks will not stop all infections, but the data shows that they are at least 50% effective or higher in blocking the infection Delta Variant Covid is as contagious as Chicken Pox. The list of possible side effects is long. The choice is clear wear a mask or rolled the dice for a lifetime of lung and heart problems

Lupe Molina

Thanks Stephen. The confusion about mRNA is astounding considering how available the info ism

Notta Ray Cist

That registered nurse is Sharon Tracey Richardson of the New Mexico Cancer Center in Albuquerque (nmcancercenter. org) in Oncology. She had a GoFundMe earlier to raise funds to cover the costs of HER COVID treatments. She was also seen accosting a counter-protester that had an "I Believe In Science" poster.

Meredith Madri

Telling your kids that "masks are child abuse"?? Comparing public health measures to the Holocaust? Disturbing on so many levels.

Y'know what seems like child abuse?

Willfully (potentially) exposing your kid to a deadly virus.

Margaret Eyler

Statistically, it's not deadly for children and it's not deadly for vaccinated adults (If you're vaccinated, you are almost twice as likely to get struck by lightning as you are to die from the 'rona)

Lupe Molina

Statistically, that's bull****. Kids are dying every day because of this disease, not in the same numbers as the elderly, but it's happening. Even one child's death is enough for me to put a thin piece of fabric over my face while I'm interacting with other people. But that's too heavy of a lift for you, I guess?

Mike Johnson

True, scientific studies prove that: "The team found that, of 6,338 hospital admissions for COVID-19, 259 children and young people required treatment in paediatric intensive-care units." about 4%. And: "Of 3,105 deaths from all causes among the 12 million or so people under 18 in England between March 2020 and February 2021, 25 were attributable to COVID-19 — a rate of about 2 for every million people in this age range"


Yes, it's one thing as an adult to choose to take the risk (Russian roulette) but to put your child in potential danger despite all the research. That's hubris.

Larry Larrichio

What an absolute disgrace. it is embarrassing to know that there are so many ignorant people in New Mexico. They pose a threat to all of us and our rights to protect our children and grandchildren.

Charlotte Rowe

Well ya can't fix stupid, and the anti-maskers are a clear sign that there is a serious shortfall of brains in New Mexico. With luck they will be a self-ending problem.

Cleve Spence


mark Coble

No, we have read the science of mask material and efficacy. What did OSHA say about wearing masks prior to covid?

Angel Ortiz

Well we might as well get ready for another shut down. Fake flu? Who are these people?

Sheri VS

Their refusal to wear masks or get the vaccine is the exact reason why everyone is back to wearing masks. They are the reason the country is experiencing a surge. If they only cared about others, we would all be back to normal life.

Margaret Eyler

The only people back to wearing masks are people that get off on the government telling them what to do.

mark Coble

True...and those that follow fear and obey mandate.

John Balog

Natural Selection will prevail. I hope the kids survive.

Diad Wheeler


Henry R.

Fake flu and bullying? 😳. How does one even respond to someone that thinks that way?

Stefanie Beninato


Diad Wheeler


Lupe Molina

Make pariahs of them. Don't allow them in public buildings or businesses. And don't let anyone forget what this person said. Make this follow them for 40 years and negatively affect her ability to get a job.

Margaret Eyler

Yeah, cuz historically speaking it works out reeaalllyy well when you adopt the "This group of people is not worthy to be here or there!"

Lupe Molina

It must be nice to feel entitled in the way displayed here. No, Ms. Becerra won't ask her kids to mask up, nor will anyone in her family get vaccinated. But she'll use public infrastructure and demand that it operate her way. When kids do get back into school, I hope we'll invest more in science and civics so kids fare better than their parents.

Stefanie Beninato


Stephen Hauf


Carolyn DM


mark Coble

What, exactly, is risk factor for kids? Care to cite facts and figures on risk by age and condition? That would help to judge risk factor, right?

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