"It was very emotional because it was my first day of school and I wanted to be normal, but I wasn't able to," Ezra Nelson said in an interview with Fox 11.
Nelson’s teacher at Hewes Middle School told him he had to wear a mask per California school policy, and brought him to the front of the classroom and tried to give him a mask.
"I said, I prefer not to," Nelson recounted. He said he was then escorted from the classroom and told he could not return.
Nelson’s mother, Emily Nelson, said her son has a medical condition she preferred not to disclose and has a doctor’s note on the matter. She said she tried to open a 504 plan for him that allows children with disabilities to be accommodated, but was met with resistance from the school.
"They said that for him to go back into school we had two options: Put on a mask or leave school. So I said, ‘Essentially, are you kicking my son out for his medical health condition,’" the mother recounted.
She added that this isn’t the first time that her son faced resistance from the school over face masks, saying Nelson was sent to the principal’s office last year over the matter.
The Tustin Unified School District told Fox News in a statement that it is "doing everything possible to provide healthy and happy learning environments for our students."
"Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for every student, and we never want to turn a student away for any reason. All public schools are required to meet or exceed all health and safety standards established by the CDPH and the health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We completely understand the frustrations and fatigue some might be experiencing as we enter another school year during the global pandemic," the comment added.
California officials announced July 9 that students and teachers returning to the classroom this year will be required to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, in light of the delta variant of the virus.
"We’re going to start with a requirement K through 12 that the year begins with masks," California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said at the time. "At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment."