GRASS VALLEY, Calif. (KTXL) — A high school home to more than 1,500 students had to cancel classes Thursday due to a teacher shortage.

A parking lot at Nevada Union High School that is typically filled with the cars of students and faculty sat mainly empty. Many teachers at the Grass Valley school called out Thursday morning in response to actions taken by the local school board.

“We feel unsupported and we feel placed in a very uncomfortable position where we don’t want to jeopardize our credential,” explained Eric Mayer, a physics teacher and the president of the Nevada Joint Union High School Teachers Association.

Mayer said the mass call-out was not organized by a group. Instead, it came from individual teachers frustrated after the board of trustees voted 3-1 — with one abstention — on Tuesday to remove mask requirements for students and instead provide them with mask-wearing education.

“The decision that the board made puts us in an impossible position where we are either to defy the board — our boss — or defy the state law. And our credentials are conditional on us upholding the law,” Mayer said.

Mayer told FOX40 the frustration lies not in the decision to remove mask requirements but rather in what he called a breach of contract. He noted that the board did not consult with teachers or public health professionals before taking the vote.

“We want the decisions about how the schools operate made by those public school experts,” he said.

In a phone conversation with FOX40, Nevada Joint Union High School Superintendent Brett McFadden said he did all he could to keep the school open Thursday but simply did not have the resources. McFadden said he’s now caught in the middle.

“Myself and my education leaders in the school district, what we’re trying to do is educate our kids and provide a safe and sound environment,” McFadden said. “And it’s growing increasingly difficult to do this when you have such a high level of rancorous public discourse on all sides of the political spectrum.”

After hearing about the closure, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, denounced the decisions made by the Teachers Association.

For two years Special Interests have held children hostage to their demands. Now, at a time when a return to normal school is more urgent than ever, corrupt unions are finding new ways to abandon students. 

I join the families at Nevada Union High School in denouncing this outrageous strike. I stand with the district’s school board members and all of the teachers, administrators, and staff who want nothing more than the chance to give their students the education they deserve.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin

“The teachers that I have talked to are wrecked,” Mayer said. “We don’t want to be away from our students and away from our classroom, we want to be here. We choose this job for a reason.”

Mayer plans to bring that sentiment to a meeting with administration officials Friday in hopes school can resume.

FOX40 reached out to the board president and vice president for their side on all of this but has yet to hear back.