My three year old son will be attending a Montessori school next year in Oak Park, Illinois. He has never received a vaccination. We just received the enrollment packet and I was a bit concerned as there is no mention of any exemption and the wording makes it sound as if he MUST have all of his shots in order to attend. Can they reject him based on his no-vax status? I've looked at some of the other postings regarding this issue but I'm nervous. Should I just submit the religious exemption and keep my fingers crossed? I do know that they have a rather lengthy waiting list.
I'm not in IL, but I called the private schools we were looking into to see if they accept religious exemptions before even signing up with them because, someone correct me if I am wrong, but private schools have the ability to make the choice as to whether they accept religious exemptions or not. Therefore, I wanted to verify this with the schools in my area upfront before having my heart set on one school, only to find out they don't accept these exemptions and after handing them a registration-fee check to them. Some may say just hand in the letter without asking and hope for the best, but honestly, I had no problems calling and verifying with the schools first and they had no problem with me asking either. They were more than happy to assist me). If you want to call but you're afraid, just call with the general question. They won't ask your name or anything.It saved me a lot of stress worrying about it if I hadn't asked ahead of time, but that's just me...(I need to have things all set up before I start anything. I'm a bit neurotic that way
I would just keep your letter very simple, the less the better, because some schools may be tougher and can misinterpret your intentions if it is not worded properly.
Also, don't let the enrollment packet discourage you. I also received the same thing from a private school where I live, where they seemed heavily on vaccinations; however, after calling them, they verified they totally accept religious exemptions.
Loving WAHM to my two little handsome DS's, '08 and '12, and loving wife to DH, '07.
You'd be better off to look into the laws of your state. In my state, all schools must accept vax exemptions. The school you are applying to might not know the law, or from the sounds of the packet, might not want you to know. Also, in my state no letter is needed, just a signed form that the state supplies.
Have you taken care of this yet? I just came across this so thought I would respond.
By law, in Illinois, they have to accept an exemption. At the below link you will find Illinois law and other helpful exemption information that I added to my website. Particularly look over the one that says llinois Vaccine Law, Basic. You will see that the law applies to all schools, even nursery schools. Any school that has to follow the law on immunisations, also has to follow the part of the law allowing for exceptions to the law. If you have problems with this, provide them with the law. It has been my experience though, that parents don't say anything to the school, they just turn in the exemption with the other paperwork and they don't have any issue. I would take this approach first.
In the state of Illinois, they are allowed to reject any non-vaxer they choose. If they do not get ANY federal funds and are funded wholly by private monies, they can make any rule they please. However, if they get any federal funds (even if they get "milk money compensation) they must accept vax exemptions.
@Maia71, I would just block my number and call the school and ask if they take exemptions. My local Montessori does and they also charge a $150 application fee. No way I was going to pay that if they didn't take exemptions (you also sign a form stating that you understand this fee is non-refundable, and does not guarantee you entrance into the program, etc).