Trying to find someone with personal experience w/ KS/MO relig exemptions... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 09-12-2005, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I saw another post in an archive, but it didn't quite answer my question. I've also asked this over in the KS and MO tribal area, but want to cover all my bases

We are to be transferred to Kansas City at some point and will have to make a decision whether to live on the KS or MO side. We are a non-vax family and have been fortunate so far, but as I'm reading on those states, I'm growing concerned.

As I understand it, MO is considerably more liberal with their religious exemption, simply stating that it goes against religious beliefs (or such) and they CANNOT ask what religion you are. In Kansas, it appears they can require you to be a member of a religion that takes a formal stance against vaccination (which I am not) and can request proof in the form of a letter from clergy.

Has anybody filed a religious exemption in either of these states for school purposes and NOT been a member of a religion that takes a formal stance? What has been your experience? Being in MO means a longer drive for my DH but we'll do it if it gives us more rights!

THANKS!! Jenni
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#2 of 3 Old 09-12-2005, 08:49 PM
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Here's some information regarding state laws (this was written in 2002 and some states such as Texas have enacted philo exemptions since then):

D. Narrow Religious Exemption States

In a handful of states (Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska,
Texas), the statutory language relating to religious exemptions requires that
parents and children requesting an exemption be members of a recognized
religious organization or denomination but does not require an inquiry into the
sincerity of the religious belief in question.

This language was tested and declared unconstitutional in the state of Massachusetts (see Dalli v. Board of Educ., 267 N.E. 2d 219 (Mass. 1971)), and in Sherr v. Northport-East Northport Union Free Sch. Dist., 672 F.Supp. 81 (E.D.N.Y. 1987) a federal trial court held the “recognized religion” clause unconstitutional under the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, as there is no controlling Supreme Court decision on point, there is room for other states and federal courts to come to different conclusions. As the law stands today, citizens of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas who request exemptions must be members of a recognized religious organization or denomination.

E. Wide Religious Exemption States

In other states like Wyoming (Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida,
Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming), the language in the statutory religious exemption clause is more open-ended and exemption friendly. However, such statutes are not always applied in an exemption friendly way by the state health departments charged with administering vaccinations. It remains the duty of the courts to correct this executive abuse.

A good example of this kind of judicial oversight can be found in LePage v. Wyoming, 18 P.3d 1877 (2001), a case in which The Rutherford Institute represented plaintiff Susan LePage. In LePage, the Wyoming Supreme Court reviewed Ms. LePage’s request for a personal religious exemption, a request that had formerly been denied by the Wyoming State Board of Health on grounds that Ms. LePage’s views were moral and philosophical—“based on concerns regarding the health and safety risks of the vaccination as well as the mode of transmission of the hepatitis B virus” Id. at 1180—and not distinctly religious.

The court examined the language of the Wyoming statute and determined that it mandated the State Board of Health to grant exemption from vaccination to any child whose parent submits a written objection to such vaccination based upon religious grounds.

Copyright 2002 The Rutherford Institute, P.O. Box 7482, Charlottesville, VA,
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#3 of 3 Old 02-04-2006, 04:29 AM
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I had my two boys, both selectively vaxed, enrolled in Lakewood Montessori preschool (Lee's Summit) in August of 05. I did NOT claim religious exemption. I just signed my name to a card that was provided by the health department (I think) saying that I had chosen not to give my child these vaccinations. The most important document that they said they needed was a physician's signature verifying that my children were healthy. So, I went to a pediatrician who did not look favorable on our selective-vax choices. When she seemed reluctant to sign the paperwork, I assured her that I would eventually get them vaccinated. I was in a hurry and didn't feel like getting into a conversation and/or argument with her. She suggested I make appts to get them "caught up" on their vaccines, and I said I would. Of course, I didn't. All I needed was that dumb piece of paper signed!

Also,The director of the school told me at the time that they had 2 different chiropractors whose children also attended who had children who were not vaccinated at all. She just shrugged her shoulders and said, "that's their choice, and we don't have a problem with it."

I was all worried about it and it turned out not to be a big deal at all. I have no idea how any other school would handle it. Hope this is a bit of help to you. I'm new to MO and am not completely familiar with all the laws.

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