Anti-Vax Parents Now Facing Their Kids' Removal From School

vaccinationThe thing that I was always afraid of happening to me if I didn't vaccinate my kids happened to the parents of hundreds of tweens and teens in Sacramento this week. A new law was passed during the last school year requiring 7th through 12th graders to be vaccinated for whooping cough (pertussis). Parents were given the entire summer vacation plus a 30-day window after the start of school to comply.

Most took their kids to the doctors for shots. (Because the whooping cough vaccine is thought to wear off after a few years, children need boosters.) Those kids got to stay in school.

Not the kids whose parents opted out of the vaccinations, however. Those kids got yanked out of class and were forced to spend the day in the gym.

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Does this strike anyone else as a sort of unnecessarily humiliating measure? It would've been one thing to send a note home telling parents not to send their kids back to school until they could present proof of vaccination. But to shut all the potentially pathogen-ridden youths into one room like a herd of cattle with mad cow disease?

One of the students was quoted as saying he felt like he was in Planet of the Apes, and I don't doubt it. As if letting the kids finish out the school day in class would have caused a mass outbreak of pertussis. Please.

I have to admit, though, the possibility of this kind of thing happening is one of the reasons why I decided to vaccinate my kids. Back when my daughter was a baby (and the autism/mercury link theory was still scaring the hell out of people), I heard a few horror stories about sudden visits from social workers and, well, that was even scarier than the vaccine as far as I was concerned.

I'm not arguing the need for or danger of vaccines here, and I'm not challenging the recent changes in California law.

But the decision to remove hundreds of kids from their classrooms without warning was a bad call.

Do you think this situation could have been handled more gracefully?

 

Image via El Alvi/Flickr

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