I think I need a pep talk. Very worried about submitting a religious exemption - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 09-10-2011, 05:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm sitting down to write a letter to my son's preschool claiming religious exemption from vaccination. He will be starting school next Tuesday and this will be his first school experience. When he was born we planned on delaying any vax for the first 6 mos but soon decided to delay until middle childhood. I am very worried that the school will tell me that he is not welcome (I fear I might have made a mistake here by not discussing this with the school months ago) --this would be heartbreaking to my son who is really looking forward to this.

Also I am very concerned that I am claiming a religious exemption although we are really not particularly religious. I really don't like lying. We based our decision not to vaccinate on our belief that vaccinating young children is dangerous, especially for our children who may be predisposed to a chemical sensitivity, judging from their father's health issues (my pediatrician does not believe there is enough evidence for a medical exemption).

We moved here recently from another state that accepted philosophical exemptions, I just figured we would go that route, but now here we are in MA. Does anyone else go through this? Are there a lot of private schools that don't accept unvaxed children or perhaps is this letter really just for liability purposes and they don't really care as long as the paperwork is filed correctly?

This is a lonely situation for me. Any insight or encouragement will be greatly appreciated!

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#2 of 5 Old 09-11-2011, 03:41 PM
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Well, find out before you write the tuition check.  LOL! 


I almost always chime in on these threads because I know of great links!  I was holding out to see if someone from you state would answer (have you posted in the Find Your Tribe forum to hear of other moms' experiences?), but I didn't want to wait too long lest you lose sleep over this.  bigeyes.gif  (I get it.  I was super stressed the first time I filed for exemption).


With DD's preschool, I had to gather some nerve and pre-rehearse the question, "Oh, by the way, we'll be claiming exemption to some vaccines.  How do I go about that?"  The preschool teacher didn't even bat a brow when she told me to fill out a form.  In my experience the State cares volumes more about this issue than school teachers and administrators.


On the religion front, are you 100% atheist/agnostic, or do you believe in the existence of a higher power?  If the latter is true, it's hard to argue that any higher power or Creator would NOT want you to do what you deem best for the lives and health of your children, including doing your own vaccination schedule or not vaccinating at all.  In that case, it's sincerely felt.  And it looks like MA law doesn't require that you belong to an organized religion, nor does it require you to explain or justify your beliefs to the State.  OK, on to the links!


Here are the laws for your state: http://www.nvic.org/Vaccine-Laws/state-vaccine-requirements/massachusetts.aspx

And here are some helpful people: http://www.vaccinechoice.org/index.php/C9/


Good luck! 

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., former NEJM Editor
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#3 of 5 Old 09-12-2011, 10:30 PM
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Read the law. http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXII/Chapter76/Section15


According to the law, no school, public or private, can deny admission based on a religious exemption.


You are going to have to write that your decision to not vaccinate is based on sincere religious beliefs.


Do not ask before you write the tuition check. If possible, hold off on submitting vaccine records/exemption letter until after you are officially admitted, with a letter to prove it, and you have written your tuition check.  That way they can't deny admission based on the exemption and pretend it is for some other reason.


After re-reading the question, I see that he has already been admitted, and you've probably already written a check. That's good.



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#4 of 5 Old 09-21-2011, 08:42 PM
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Im sorry I didnt see your post sooner, youve probably already figured things out by this late date. Just wanted to say that I lived in Ma for a short time and my daughter attended school there...I did not have to write a letter or explanation of any kind. Most schools just have a form that you sign. The form states that you do not vaccinate for reasons associated with your religion, and thats it. Most of my daughters life we have been in RI, and Ive never had a bit of trouble over the exemption, though one year they called to warn me that the chicken pocs had shown up in school. I asked if I could be put in contact with the family so that my kid could get them too, and there was absolute silence on the other end of the phone! Blessings on your little one. 

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#5 of 5 Old 09-22-2011, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the replies!  I submitted a brief letter that stated that we do not vaccinate, that our decision is based on our religious beliefs in a package along with all the other paperwork required.  No questions were asked.  Very nice!  Now my little son is adjusting to preschool....

Thanks again for the info!


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