It's Official: Non-Vax Moms Better Be Ready to Homeschool

vaccinationThere are varying policies in place regarding a child's vaccinations and school. Parents aren't all going to agree on this -- as we are all aware vaccines are a hot topic and have been a trigger for many a heated debate. It's still a subject that must be addressed, and there is a way to do it in which we respect other people's beliefs and views. But with all the variables involved, the topic of vax or no vax ends up with mostly everyone feeling frustrated. And the frustration is only going to grow if more places follow a federal judge's rulling that it's OK to ban unvaccinated students from school during illnesses or outbreaks.

The judge's ruling means it's OK that three children were barred from attending school in New York City because other kids had chicken pox.

The parents of two of the children who were banned sued, citing they were denied their First Amendment right to religious freedom and their 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law, along with some other claims. The third parent, Dina Check, sued because she says the city denied her 7-year-old a religious exemption. Check ended up homeschooling her daughter before enrolling her in a private school that allowed her in without being vaccinated.

But the judge's decision came down on the side of the school and its right to make the unvaccinated kids stay home.

Think that sounds reasonable?

The problem with rules is that there are often exceptions. If there is a case or cases of chickenpox in a school, and another child is not immunized against varicella, shouldn't it be up to the parents whether or not to allow that child to attend school during the contagious period?

Chicken pox is often mild!

Now, if it was something more serious like measles, then the unvaccinated kids should be asked to stay home to prevent the further spread, just as this judge's ruling states, and only let back in after the incubation period is over.

Schools should accommodate this and not penalize the child during this time.

More from The Stir: Scary Map Shows What Happens When Parents Don't Vaccinate Kids

This is where it gets especially tricky. When a child is barred from school due to something like this, and so much school is missed (up to a month, which is problematic for a student), it means missing lessons and tests, and also the child is going to feel like he or she is under quarantine.

The child is not contagious -- she's just unvaccinated. Should the child be placed in another school with a similar curriculum during the contagious period? Should any child be barred for something such as chickenpox in the first place? Every child deserves the right to a free education.

See? Tricky!

In 2012, a student at the Mountain Laurel Waldorf School in New Paltz, New York, contracted measles while on a trip to Europe. Eighty kids were sent home out of the 147 who attended the private school at that time. They returned if they were immunized or they waited until the contagious period was over provided there were no more cases. Luckily, there weren't, and the child who had measles recovered.

That case makes sense. There weren't any protests or parents suing the school here -- everyone worked together for the safety of the children and the health of the community and the school adjusted for the missed days.

Many public schools don't seem willing to work things out like this. There are too many boxes to check, too many students to usher through, too many strict rules without exceptions. Perhaps, even -- and this is nationwide -- there is too much of a fear of unvaccinated kids. Schools are probably worried about being sued if a no vax kid contracts something and spreads it to others in the school.

The decision to vaccinate or not should stay with the parents. However, if that child is going to be attending a public school funded by the government, we have to expect things like this. Kids who don't have vaccinations will be forced to stay home -- and there isn't much their parents can do about it.

What do you think of the kids banned when other kids in school had chicken pox?


Image via NHS Employees/Flickr



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Einyn Einyn

You're missing one point. I don't care if you're unvaccinated kid gets chicken pox. I care if you're unvaccinated kid comes to school and contracts it and then goes out and further spreads it. It's called containment.

nonmember avatar Christie

You would think the parents would want their children to stay home so they don't contract chickenpox. It may be mild but it's still not fun for the child to go through. Who wants to intentionally put children in harm's way?

nonmember avatar Eleanor

This is my very unpopular opinion: I can't send my oldest to school with anything containing nuts, and his particular school is considering going "gluten free" as well. To me, it should be no different with vaccinations. Herd immunity for those with allergies to vaccines only works if the majority is vaccinated. We, as a school, are protecting those with food allergies -- as someone with a life threatening shellfish allergy, I totally get that. My point is, shouldn't all children be protected from the kids who aren't vaccinated and very likely could spread a dibilitating disease? Why does one have precedence over the other? I am not naive to think that an illness can't be caught/spread from a vaccinated child, but the symptoms will be far less life threatening to those vaccinated. As a pp pointed out, containment is key.

nonmember avatar Gypsy

Something I don't understand about this whole argument: why are parents of vaxed kids so afraid if the unvaxed ones??? If your kid has has the vax then the odds are he/she will not be subjected to an infection if the virus. Unless there is a subconscious fear the vax won't work? I simply don't understand.

nonmember avatar Natalie

I disagree in that I don't think it should be the school's responsibility to make alternate arrangements for a child's education because the parents chose not to vaccinate. I do agree that unvaccinated kids shouldn't be at school during an outbreak (chickenpox can be mild, but you can also get shingles later in life because the herpes-zoster virus that causes chickenpox stays with you forever). And yes, measles is an extreme case; what about pertussis? There are outbreaks going on RIGHT NOW. If all the unvaccinated kids were not allowed at school as soon as the first case was caught, would we be having outbreaks like we are? Maybe...but maybe not. And it would be worth it to me as a parent, to keep my kids home if they were unvaccinated and vaccine preventable diseases were at their school.

tbruc... tbrucemom

I'm a small government person but I absolutely think there are instances where they need to intervene and this is one of them. If you don't want to vaccinate your child I think you're crazy and you they shouldn't be allowed to go to school. The problem is it doesn't keep them from being in the general public just school so it's by no means a guarantee that they're still not going to spread the germs that cause these diseases. Vaccinated children are protected to a certain degree but they can still get certain diseases, just a milder case. What if vaccinations didn't exist? We'd still be fighting small pox. Polio was almost wiped out until parents started deciding not to vaccinate against it and now it's coming back.

nonmember avatar MamaKay

Its not about vax parents being afraid of nonvax kids, its (like Einyn stated) about containment. It's bad enough when one kid comes down with something, but when it becomes several, there's a real problem. Hasn't anyone heard of an epidemic? The nonvax kids could get it, then because they're so many, easily spread it to those susceptible. What about the teachers in the school? What if one is pregnant? And office staff and cafeteria staff. I'm sure some nonvax kids have younger siblings and/or elderly grandparents. Bottom line is when one kid gets sick, if the other kids aren't at risk for catching it, there's very little risk of spreading. If the other kids are at risk, the risk of an epidemic is greatly increased. Herd immunity. Parents of nonvax kids who still want them in public school are greedy. Can't have your cake and eat it, too. Either fall in line with what's best for the greater good or pay for your kid to go to an alternative school.

nonmember avatar Natalie

In response to Gypsy, my kids are vaccinated; I am not afraid of unvaxed kids. But not everyone can be vaccinated. My grandfather died from complications of pneumonia; he got the vaccine every year, though. I don't blame the people that aren't vaccinated because he died from it; accines are not 100% by any means. However, it does offer some protection, and a lesser case than being unvaccinated. If my grandfather hadn't gotten the vaccine for the 10 years before his death, one of the other times he'd gotten pneumonia might have killed him. Vaccines prepare the body to fight a very specific disease (which is why the flu shot changes each year because influenza is constantly mutating). Many people cannot be vaccinated at all (infants, people with compromised immune systems); these people depend upon those of us who can be vaccinated to help protect them. Because if I have a vaccine preventable disease, but I'm not yet symptomatic (incubation period), and I visit with someone's newborn, and I pass that disease to their newborn, I'm going to feel AWFUL. If I have gotten the vaccine, I have a greatly decreased chance of spreading those diseases because my body can immediately begin fighting the germs. So, to sum this up, vaccines aren't 100% effective; but they do help protect the vaccinated as well as the people the vaccinated person comes in contact with.

2bu2m... 2bu2mommy

Pretty much what is being said is that because parents are scared that the vacinations wont work, that my child (who cant get vaccinations due to health risks, allergies) is being punished and discriminated against. If the vacinations were so great in the first place, we would not have these issues. My problem is the people bringing the diseases from other places and risking all of our childrens health. I have another child on the way who is at the same risk of the vacinations hurting him as my first , but am I supposed to risk his life because people are affraid their vaccinations wont work. Not going to happen. I will not let the government, or scared parents make my child feel bad about himself...but because they will try I have already decided that homeschooling is best.

nonmember avatar Jen

Fact is, if you want your child in a public school, you have to follow the rules governing the health and safety of all students. If you're not willing to do that, put them in private school or home school them. Whatever you feel about vaccinations, one thing is certain... they are a requirement for the public school system.

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