Parents took their kids out of school for a Blackout event, both here and across the state, protesting possible mandatory HPV vaccinations.

There were two protests here locally one on South Park Avenue near Tim Kennedy’s office and the other on Union Road out front Assemblyman Pat Burke’s office.

They were all protesting legislation introduced that would require elementary school kids to be immunized against HPV.

“We’re disagreeing with the vaccine being forced because it’s HPV, people aren’t forced to have sex. So HPV is not contagious it’s through skin to skin contact,” said Lisa Rott Clarence.

HPV is responsible for cancer in both men and women.

Gale Burstein Erie County Commissioner of Health says the vaccination can  save lives.

“We know that HPV causes cancer, it is the number one cause of cervical cancer for women, it is the number one cause of oral cancer for men, and actually oral cancer is a growing problem, probably many of your viewers know somebody who’s had oral cancer,” said Burstein.

Assemblyman Burke issued the following statement in response to today’s protest:

“In response to today’s protest, I will again reiterate the position that I have already made public. I do not support a mandatory HPV or flu vaccine, but I do think it’s incredibly important to get these vaccinations. We’re heading into dangerous territory when we allow ignorance and junk science to have an equal voice to medicine and scientific research.”