Unvaccinated Kids Banned From School After Classmate Gets Sick

The children of parents who choose not to have them vaccinated may be subject to a severe consequence should one of their classmates contract an illness like the measles: he or she may be ordered to stay home and miss an unbelievable amount of class time. That's what happened to Michelle Renfro's 15-year-old daughter, Rebecca, who is one of 24 unvaccinated students at Huntington Beach High School in California who is prohibited from returning to school because a classmate has measles.


Renfro's case is a little different because, as she explains, she didn't have a choice about vaccinations. When Rebecca's older brother received the measles shot as a baby, his throat closed up and he suffered a severe allergic reaction. A doctor advised Renfro not to give her daughter the vaccination and she took his advice.

Rebecca did receive all of her other shots though, and Renfro says she is tired of all of the nasty comments and judgments being passed down on her family by people who know nothing about them.

Granted, Renfro's story is unusual. But the school has decided the safest course of action right now is to force those unvaccinated students to stay at home to avoid a measles outbreak. Considering how the state of California is already dealing with a measles outbreak that stemmed from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, I don't personally blame the school for being cautious. So far, 19 people have reportedly fallen ill with symptoms of the measles -- and nine of those involve children between the ages of 8 months and 21 years old.

But parents like Renfro are still outraged that their kids will be missing at least 21 days of school while they are quarantined. Their grades have been frozen, but they are reportedly not going to be able to take their semester final examinations, which are being given this week.

More from The Stir: Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About Vaccines?

And that may not be the worst of it. If another student contracts the measles during the time they are quarantined, the school may reportedly extend what they're calling a "medical suspension" for another 21 days.

Whatever our thoughts and feelings are regarding the school's actions, administrators are obviously being allowed to do this for the well-being of its students. As parents, we need to be aware of all of the pros and cons of vaccinating our children, and it seems this might just emerge as a very big con -- one that we are probably not thinking about when our babies are only a few months old and school seems like years away.

Do you think schools should have the right to make kids stay home if they aren't vaccinated and another classmate contracts a contagious illness? 


Image via NHS Employers/Flickr

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