The war between those who are pro-vaccinating children and against it has escalated in recent months due to further research and discussion. A recent incident involving a New York school is stirring up the controversy even further. Green Meadow Waldorf School in Rockland County recently experienced a particularly bad measles outbreak. As a result, those students that were not vaccinated were told they may not attend class. The order was set in place by the Rockland health department and its commissioner, Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert. This decision affects 44 unvaccinated students in total, according to The Hill.
Although many would argue that barring students unvaccinated against measles protects not only them, but their classmates, the parents of these students don’t seem to think so. A group of parents representing these 44 students filed a federal lawsuit against the Rockland health department for keeping their children from attending school. The lawsuit claims that Dr. Ruppert’s order goes against parents’ religious beliefs that would lead them to choose against vaccinating their children, according to Lohud News.
A NY Judge has ruled against Anti-Vax parents at Green Meadow Waldorf School in Rockland County who were suing to keep their intentionally unvaccinated kids in school during an outbreak. https://t.co/HFO3Lcqr7U— Vincent Iannelli, MD (@AboutPediatrics) March 13, 2019
The lawsuit further states that the health department’s order creates “irreparable harm” to these children and “is nothing more than an overbroad attempt to force parents with strongly held religious beliefs to vaccinate their children.”
In addition, these parents worry for their children’s mental state due to this abrupt change in their lives.
“The children have been consigned to a difficult and anxiety filled existence not knowing when they will be able to return to school.”
However, U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti sided with the health department and ruled against the parents’ request to allow the children back into class. Although the parents claim that none of their children has yet contracted measles, Judge Briccetti deemed it the safer decision to keep those who are unvaccinated out of class.
“The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction,” he stated.
Green Meadow is an independent school which is composed of about 300 students ranging from preschool through grade 12. It is considered to be a non-denominational educational environment. While the country is not intending to go against religious liberty in any form, their priority is the safety and health of their students as a whole.
On Monday, Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach stated that Ruppert “has every legal right, under New York State’s Public Health Law and the County’s Sanitary Code, to take every necessary step to stop the outbreak of measles in this County.”