Religious Exemption- need advice - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 01-22-2014, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ladies,

 

I posted on the selective vaccination board but feel that since we're no longer vaccinating I could post my message here as well.

 

I need advice from those that have used religious exemptions currently or in the past. Our little one had a reaction and we don't feel comfortable continuing after much praying and tons of research. We have selectively vaccinated in the past and was wondering if anyone had filed an exemption after vaccinating in the past. If so, was it ever questioned?

 

I'm confused as to where to start and how much information to include. I read that it's best to keep the exemption simple and also read that you need to include details why one is against vaccinating and am confused. I would really appreciate if you would share your letter either by replying or PM. I'm not sure how to correctly write the letter.  Is it best to contact schools beforehand to inquire whether or not they accept them? I read that private schools have the right to deny an exemption and am sort of hesitant to bring this up beforehand but since many schools have registration deadlines I would hate to go through the process of registering only to find out that they won't accept it. Also, has anyone used a religious exemption at a Catholic school?

 

Sorry for all of the questions. I really appreciate any advice.

Faith

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#2 of 24 Old 01-22-2014, 08:30 PM
 
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Good questions! I will be lurking!
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#3 of 24 Old 01-22-2014, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Tracy. I'm really hoping to get advice. :-)

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#4 of 24 Old 01-22-2014, 09:03 PM
 
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I see from your other post that you're in New Jersey. New Jersey is different from other states, in that the law says religious schools can deny a religious exemption. This is specifically for religious schools, not all private schools.

 

However, some religious schools may not know the law allows them to deny a religious exemption, and I wouldn't want to inform them of that. If I were in your position, I would register for a few extra schools just in case, if it's not too expensive to do so.

 

Edit: I was going by memory that religious schools in New Jersey could deny a religious exemption. However, I could not find anything on the New Jersey Department of Health's website saying that. But I did find this. http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/religious_exemption.pdf If you have a problem with any school, you should print this out and give it to them.

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#5 of 24 Old 01-23-2014, 11:52 AM
 
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Try the local board as well and see if anyone in your area has had success.  I'm in CT, so not too far away and we plan to use a religious exemption for DD.  Definitely do not tell them in advance - wait til your LO is accepted and the final piece of paperwork you submit would be the exemption form/letter and it doesn't give them the time to debate it.  If you ask questions you open up a can of worms not only regarding exemption, but you make yourself a bit more "known" to the administrators.  Only you and the school nurse really have privy to that information, any other sharing would be a violation because health records are not kept with the general admission paperwork. 

 

Ps - we also started off vaxxing before we stopped, shouldn't make any difference whatsoever.

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#6 of 24 Old 01-23-2014, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see from your other post that you're in New Jersey. New Jersey is different from other states, in that the law says religious schools can deny a religious exemption. This is specifically for religious schools, not all private schools.

 

However, some religious schools may not know the law allows them to deny a religious exemption, and I wouldn't want to inform them of that. If I were in your position, I would register for a few extra schools just in case, if it's not too expensive to do so.

 

Edit: I was going by memory that religious schools in New Jersey could deny a religious exemption. However, I could not find anything on the New Jersey Department of Health's website saying that. But I did find this. http://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/religious_exemption.pdf If you have a problem with any school, you should print this out and give it to them.


Thanks so much for the information. I book marked the page! :-)

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#7 of 24 Old 01-23-2014, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Try the local board as well and see if anyone in your area has had success.  I'm in CT, so not too far away and we plan to use a religious exemption for DD.  Definitely do not tell them in advance - wait til your LO is accepted and the final piece of paperwork you submit would be the exemption form/letter and it doesn't give them the time to debate it.  If you ask questions you open up a can of worms not only regarding exemption, but you make yourself a bit more "known" to the administrators.  Only you and the school nurse really have privy to that information, any other sharing would be a violation because health records are not kept with the general admission paperwork. 

 

Ps - we also started off vaxxing before we stopped, shouldn't make any difference whatsoever.


Thanks so much. I will definitely do so! Good point about not asking in advance. I was really hesitant about doing so. I was just wondering if we waited until applying if they would refuse it and part of me would want to know right away but like you said, probably best not to open a can of worms! I guess the best person who would know I'm assuming would be the school nurse? Thoughts about calling directly and asking w/out leaving information? Good to know about previous vaccines. If you don't mind me asking, are you planning to disclose that information? Is that needed? Thanks again! :-)

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#8 of 24 Old 01-24-2014, 07:26 AM
 
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No plans to disclose to the school prev vaxxes.  We've cut ties with the original ped who did them for other reasons and I have all of DD's medical paperwork if needed for anything.  If there is an outbreak of some kind that would otherwise exclude her if she doesn't have the vax or natural immunity, I will have her tittered to see where she stands at that point.  Personally, I probably wouldn't even call the nurse, not even discretely without a name - I wouldn't want to run the risk that he/she was the type to have a hard on for making an example of people and pushing vaxxes as a personal agenda, but mostly because that would be my luck! 

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#9 of 24 Old 01-27-2014, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No plans to disclose to the school prev vaxxes.  We've cut ties with the original ped who did them for other reasons and I have all of DD's medical paperwork if needed for anything.  If there is an outbreak of some kind that would otherwise exclude her if she doesn't have the vax or natural immunity, I will have her tittered to see where she stands at that point.  Personally, I probably wouldn't even call the nurse, not even discretely without a name - I wouldn't want to run the risk that he/she was the type to have a hard on for making an example of people and pushing vaxxes as a personal agenda, but mostly because that would be my luck! 


Thanks again for replying. You made an excellent point about calling even discretely. Didn't think of it that way and you're absolutely right! About previous vaccines, do you know if all states have a vaccine registry? From what I understand the exemption should be accepted regardless of previous vaccinations?

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#10 of 24 Old 01-28-2014, 07:05 AM
 
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Thanks again for replying. You made an excellent point about calling even discretely. Didn't think of it that way and you're absolutely right! About previous vaccines, do you know if all states have a vaccine registry? From what I understand the exemption should be accepted regardless of previous vaccinations?

yes, i believe there is a nationwide vaccine registry, and yes, the exemption should be honored regardless of past history...A person can choose to accept religion in their lives at any time.

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#11 of 24 Old 01-28-2014, 10:33 AM
 
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yes, i believe there is a nationwide vaccine registry, and yes, the exemption should be honored regardless of past history...A person can choose to accept religion in their lives at any time.

It's not a nationwide registry. Each state keeps their own. You can stop vaxing at any time but unless you are in a state with philosophical exemptions, if you vax again you lose your exemption. Assuming you get caught, of course, but why risk it?

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Only you and the school nurse really have privy to that information, any other sharing would be a violation because health records are not kept with the general admission paperwork. 

Geographical proximity matters not. smile.gif In my state, or perhaps just my school district, anyone who is a finger printed volunteer can see the health records. I spend hours and hours every week helping out in the front office of ds's school. Sometimes I am called upon to acceptaccept and file new student paperwork, which of course includes health forms. One year, I had to alphabetize hundreds of emergency contact cards, which of course indicate vaccine status. And when I check a student out early, I grab the binder that holds the health forms, as these also list the people approved for pick up.
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#12 of 24 Old 01-30-2014, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, i believe there is a nationwide vaccine registry, and yes, the exemption should be honored regardless of past history...A person can choose to accept religion in their lives at any time.


Thanks again Emmy.

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#13 of 24 Old 01-30-2014, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's not a nationwide registry. Each state keeps their own. You can stop vaxing at any time but unless you are in a state with philosophical exemptions, if you vax again you lose your exemption. Assuming you get caught, of course, but why risk it?
Geographical proximity matters not. smile.gif In my state, or perhaps just my school district, anyone who is a finger printed volunteer can see the health records. I spend hours and hours every week helping out in the front office of ds's school. Sometimes I am called upon to acceptaccept and file new student paperwork, which of course includes health forms. One year, I had to alphabetize hundreds of emergency contact cards, which of course indicate vaccine status. And when I check a student out early, I grab the binder that holds the health forms, as these also list the people approved for pick up.


Interesting. I've always wondered who has access to personal health records in schools. So much for HIPPA huh? Do you know if the registry is automatic in each state and can schools access this information or just health care providers? Thanks for your replies.

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#14 of 24 Old 01-30-2014, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Ladies,

 

I have another question for those of you that have filed for a religious exemption in the past. When did you hand in your application or registration paperwork? Did you go directly to the school during school hours or did you apply or register during a specific date with other parents at the same time as well? Seems some schools do both and am wondering if it were better to just stop by during the week to drop off the paperwork or to go when there is a specific date(s) set for it? Just wondering if one or the other was better and would draw less attention and/or questions about it.

 

Thanks again for your replies.

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#15 of 24 Old 01-30-2014, 10:32 PM
 
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If you go when a lot of other parents are going, you risk another parent overhearing a discussion about the exemption. But the office workers might be busier, so perhaps less likely to get into a discussion with you.

 

If I had a choice, would probably choose to go when I didn't think other parents would be there, for the sake of privacy.

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#16 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 03:28 AM
 
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Bring some moral support with you in the form of a large, supportive relative or friend. Do not go alone.

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Interesting. I've always wondered who has access to personal health records in schools. So much for HIPPA huh? Do you know if the registry is automatic in each state and can schools access this information or just health care providers? Thanks for your replies.

I found this, havent had time to go thru it, tho..it may have some info on the issue

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/policies/ipom/default.htm

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#18 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 05:13 AM
 
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I'm in NH, and chose to only vax with tetanus.  My kids were all homeschooled, then my second-oldest started half-way through 8th grate at the local (public) school.  When she brought home paperwork regarding health history/shots, I just printed out the exemption form and sent it to school with her other paperwork.  No one said boo.  No issues at all!  Good luck!

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Interesting. I've always wondered who has access to personal health records in schools. So much for HIPPA huh? Do you know if the registry is automatic in each state and can schools access this information or just health care providers? Thanks for your replies.


Some states are opt-in but most are opt-out.  Most if not all allow schools to access the list.

 

HIPAA, FERPA, it don't mean a thing in actuality.  One year the assistant principal shared private health info re: my older son (he needed a 504) with her husband, the PE teacher, who had my younger son in his class and said "Oh, you're the little brother of the boy who needs fill-in-the-blank-potentially-embarrassing-accommodation?!" out loud in front of the whole class.

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#20 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 08:46 AM
 
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 HIPAA, FERPA, it don't mean a thing in actuality. 

As a teachers' aide, I often had the boring job of updating pupils' files with their current picture so I had full access to their entire files as I put their pictures in.

I could have looked at anything in the file.

I had enough work to keep me busy, but I remembered that the information was confidential, but no one told me how sensitive the nature of this task was.

I respected that.

But I wonder how often someone will share information as a piece of juicy gossip.


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#21 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 09:51 AM
 
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My son is in 5th grade, and we just submitted his exemption forms. He was fully vaccinated when he entered the school in kindergarten, and they had not asked me for anything since then. They were updating his file, and wanted his shot records. I told them I would be claiming a religious exemption. I printed a standard religious exemption letter, signed it, scanned it, and emailed it to the office. I guess it was accepted, because they never said anything else about it. I believe he is due for a few boosters next year in 6th grade, so I hope this works each year.

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#22 of 24 Old 01-31-2014, 10:05 PM
 
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I have a question. My dd is not 2 yet but I am thinking...is there a form you print out and add to the school paperwork? I'm thinking religious exemption is better than philosophical. Like it is harder to fight. But my faith doesn't actually have anything to do with my non vac status. My decision is research based. So when you say you are not vaxing for religious reasons, do you have to say what your faith has to do with it or do you just say "religious belief"? I know I'm like 4 years from school but I'm wondering about this.
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#23 of 24 Old 02-06-2014, 08:30 PM
 
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But I wonder how often someone will share information as a piece of juicy gossip.

 

Very, VERY often.  A local school just cleaned out a principal and two office staffers for this reason.

 

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I have a question. My dd is not 2 yet but I am thinking...is there a form you print out and add to the school paperwork? I'm thinking religious exemption is better than philosophical. Like it is harder to fight. But my faith doesn't actually have anything to do with my non vac status. My decision is research based. So when you say you are not vaxing for religious reasons, do you have to say what your faith has to do with it or do you just say "religious belief"? I know I'm like 4 years from school but I'm wondering about this.

 

I tried to google this info for China but all I could find was advice for visitors, like the recommendation for yellow fever vaccine.

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#24 of 24 Old 02-06-2014, 09:53 PM
 
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The china part I'm not concerned with. If we are in the US at that time, we'd be in California. In China we can work around requirements pretty easy.
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