Dad Thinks His 6-Year-Old’s Life Matters More Than Your Right To Send An Unvaxxed Kid To Public School
Parents are legally allowed to skip vaccinating their own kids. Because of the vagaries of the parental bond, you can, legally, get a ‘personal choice’ exemption to put your own child’s life in danger thanks to pertussis, the measles, and the flu. What you should absolutely not be allowed to do, though, is to jeopardize the lives of other children thanks to your reckless anti-health personal choices.
Via NPR, there is one parent is ready to put his foot down on this issue. Carl Krawitt of Marin County, California, has a six-year-old son, Rhett, who finally kicked a case of childhood leukemia after several rounds of chemotherapy (yeah, Rhett!). But Rhett and his decimated immune system now have to attend an elementary school where 7% of the kids haven’t been vaccinated on account of ‘personal belief’ exemptions. When it comes to vaccinations, or the lack thereof, seven is an awful lot of percents. (California’s overall exemption rate, by comparison, is 2.5%.) So Krawitt wants those unvaccinated kids out, and I say, good luck with homeschooling, y’all!
Krawitt emailed the school district administrator with his request for the suspension of any student who has skipped out on immunization for non-health reasons, but the district’s response wasn’t promising. On the bright side, the school has been very helpful about making sure Rhett’s classes are only made up of vaccinated classmates. On the negative side, that kind of clustering probably means the other classes in his age group have an even higher percentage of unvaxxed kids – and Rhett still might end up mingling with them or their germs, in the cafeteria, the bathroom, or any other shared school spaces.
Look: a personal choice exemption is fine (it’s not fine, but you know what I mean), but I don’t think electing to skip vaccination for your child should come with a Get Out Of Consequences Free card. No shots should mean no public school, in my book. If you make the personal choice to put your kid’s life on the line, then you should also have to make some other difficult personal choices – to homeschool, to find a private school, to otherwise make arrangements for your little plague carrier’s education.
There are going to be kids rebounding from cancer treatment, kids with immune disorders, kids allergic to vaccines, or kids who otherwise can’t get immunized in pretty much ever school out there. Why should their lives matter less than someone else’s misplaced concern that protecting their child against measles will give him autism? Krawitt had this to say:
“If you choose not to immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that’s your responsibility, that’s your choice. But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then … your action has harmed my child.”
The only spot I’d disagree with him on is that’s at all ‘OK’ if someone’s immunization inaction gets their own child killed. It’s not a kid’s fault that there parents don’t believe in science! But I do agree that ‘personal belief’ exemptions are too easy to get and too dangerous to public health. No one should have the right to recklessly endanger other people’s kids, and the freedom to exempt your own child from vaccines shouldn’t come for free.
(Image: Sherry Yates Young/Shutterstock)