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School wants a meeting to discuss our religious exemption :(

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
~~~UPDATE IN POST NUMBER 10 and 22~~~

We live in upstate NY and are planning on starting our oldest child in preschool, funded by NYS, starting next week. Our child is partially vaccinated and we submitted a religious exemption, we just basically said we prayed about it and believed that God wanted us to stop vaccinating our children. We are now opposed to all vaccines. Well...the school nurse just called and said the superintendent of the schools wants documentation from our religious organization. We told her we have a personal faith and do not belong to a religious organization. She told us she would tell the superintendent this but that he would probably have both of us come in for a meeting to discuss our beliefs with him. I am not comfortable with this! Do I have any choice? Any advice welcome, thanks!
post #2 of 30
anything, whether it is a request to further explain your religious beliefs, and then a further explanation of your religious beliefs, should be made IN WRITING. You should also consult a lawyer who specializes in this area of expertise. PM what area of NYS you are in, and I may have one that can help.
post #3 of 30
It is kind of unlikely that the nurse would set up a meeting with the superintendent of schools for you. And notice that she used the word "probably."

My advice: Don't explain your religious views any further at this point. Call the nurse back and politely request that if she has anything about your vaccination status to convey that she do so in writing. I'm guessing you'll never hear from her again.
post #4 of 30
agreed about the requesting everything in writing.

I would aslo contact Gary Krasner http://www.cfic.us/ for further assistance. Ive heard NYS can be tricky. Best to get the advice of a person who does this all the time. This if from his website
Quote:
Please do not verbally discuss your religious beliefs with school administrators, until you know what's involved in the process. Burden of proof is on the parent, and too many utterances could be misconstrued. There are many potential pitfalls, and too many things you need to know to ensure success. Also, do not apply for a medical waiver, nor hire an attorney before first consulting with CFIC.
Good Luck!
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
It is kind of unlikely that the nurse would set up a meeting with the superintendent of schools for you. And notice that she used the word "probably."

My advice: Don't explain your religious views any further at this point. Call the nurse back and politely request that if she has anything about your vaccination status to convey that she do so in writing. I'm guessing you'll never hear from her again.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post
agreed about the requesting everything in writing.

I would aslo contact Gary Krasner http://www.cfic.us/ for further assistance. Ive heard NYS can be tricky. Best to get the advice of a person who does this all the time. This if from his website Good Luck!
post #6 of 30
Great advice from the PPs! "Sincerity testing" is becoming quite en vogue in NYS. It basically means that you testify in some kangaroo court and they look for excuses to interrogate and humiliate parents into vaxing. Don't fall for it. It's not a legal requirement.
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Original Poster Here...Thank you all so much for your advice. I am really anxious about all of this but I am hoping previous posters are correct in guessing the school will not call us in for a meeting. I will request everything in writing from now on but I am waiting to contact a lawyer because we really don't have any extra money right now. I guess I am still holding out hope that we will be approved without any further hassle. Of course, if a request for a meeting comes in writing, I will definitely call a lawyer. Thank you all so much! MDC is and has been a great support system for our "different" beliefs.
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniet View Post
Original Poster Here...Thank you all so much for your advice. I am really anxious about all of this but I am hoping previous posters are correct in guessing the school will not call us in for a meeting. I will request everything in writing from now on but I am waiting to contact a lawyer because we really don't have any extra money right now.
I'd contact Gary's organization first; there is a small fee after the initial consultation but it's supposed to be small. There have been people here on the vax boards who have been helped by him/them.

As far as the legal status of "sincerity test" goes, the NY state supreme court has said it's allowed; in the Wexler and/or Sherr v. Northport-East Northport Union Free Sch. Dist.

They can't just say come in and talk about your exemption; they need to reject your exemption in writing and offer you the opportunity to provide "support" for your exemption and resubmit it.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmeline II View Post
As far as the legal status of "sincerity test" goes, the NY state supreme court has said it's allowed; in the Wexler and/or Sherr v. Northport-East Northport Union Free Sch. Dist.
It's like I learn something new from you every day, Emmeline.

I truly hope that this case is appealed in a higher court. Only in the vaccine arena would somebody's First Amendment right to religious freedom be placed under interrogation.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
UPDATE- So my son has been in public preschool for three weeks. We suddenly got a call from the superintendent's office saying we need to come in for a meeting with the school nurse and superintendent to discuss our religious exemption. We asked for the request in writing and they got kind cranky about it but they are apparently sending out a letter today. I didn't say anything else, I mean my son has been attending preschool for 3 weeks! (We hadn't received an approval or a denial...) I assume they know my son has been going to school but I'm not sure. I am going to contact Gary Krasner right now. Any other advice? I will homeschool if it comes down to it but I would hate to pull my son out of a school he just adjusted to and loves.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniet View Post
UPDATE- So my son has been in public preschool for three weeks. We suddenly got a call from the superintendent's office saying we need to come in for a meeting with the school nurse and superintendent to discuss our religious exemption. We asked for the request in writing and they got kind cranky about it but they are apparently sending out a letter today. I didn't say anything else, I mean my son has been attending preschool for 3 weeks! (We hadn't received an approval or a denial...) I assume they know my son has been going to school but I'm not sure. I am going to contact Gary Krasner right now. Any other advice? I will homeschool if it comes down to it but I would hate to pull my son out of a school he just adjusted to and loves.
I have no advice..just wanted to say that sucks and good luck! It's really scary that something like this can happen.
post #12 of 30
I understand that your not part of a religion organization, and you don't have to be to have a religious belief system. If your conscience no longer allows you and your husband to fully vaccinate or vaccinate at all, than no one can require a note from your priest, rabbi or shaman.
You are following your religious principals.

Good luck!!!
post #13 of 30
Contacting Gary is your best bet .
post #14 of 30
Have you heard anything yet? Any updates?
post #15 of 30
oh man, I hope it all works out. NY state scares me with this stuff.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
oh man, I hope it all works out. NY state scares me with this stuff.
NY state pisses me off with this stuff.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
Update- Yes, we have been working with Gary as suggested but we just received an official denial letter in writing from the school district. We were told our ds has to be vaccinated by October 1st or be removed from school.

I am really depressed about it and I want to pull my ds out and homeschool. Dh wants to continue to work with Gary to fight it but I feel like such an outcast here I don't know what to do anymore. The nearest group of homeschoolers is about a 45 min. drive from where we live and I have a toddler as well so I feel a bit trapped and isolated. I would love to move away to a more crunchy community but realistically we need to stay here for another five years because of our financial obligations to our home and business.

Anyway, I'm sorry to be such a downer. I hope others have better luck with their exemptions. I never imagined it would be this difficult. I am so grateful for this online community.
post #18 of 30
Ack. I'm so sorry.
post #19 of 30
Mama, it's obviously up to you to fight this, but think about what it can mean. If you fight it you could stop this from happening to other parents! Including parents who would cave and vax their babies. If you don't fight it they'll continue to bully parents into vaxing and that's just not right. In the end it's up to you to decide if you want to continue fighting this or not, but IMO if it were me I would be fighting it tooth and nail to show them that they CANNOT bully parents into vaxing just because of their nutso ideas.
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeep View Post
Mama, it's obviously up to you to fight this, but think about what it can mean. If you fight it you could stop this from happening to other parents! Including parents who would cave and vax their babies. If you don't fight it they'll continue to bully parents into vaxing and that's just not right. In the end it's up to you to decide if you want to continue fighting this or not, but IMO if it were me I would be fighting it tooth and nail to show them that they CANNOT bully parents into vaxing just because of their nutso ideas.
I agree with PP. Obviously, you have a much better chance fighting this with Gary working with you than if you were alone in this. I hope you consider fighting this. You have a right to a puclic school education as a tax payer whether you vax or not. Denying you that is This is discrimination and as long as folks don't stand up for their rights, nothing will change. I know it won'r be easy, but others have been denied and have worked with Gray and had a positive outcome. I wish you the best, whatever you decide.
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