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|Its purpose is to establish the religious basis for your request since the State permits exemptions on the basis of a sincere religious belief. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to immunization do not justify an exemption under Department of Health regulation 10 NYCRR, Section 66-1.3 (d), which requires the submission of:
A written and signed statement from the parent, parents, or guardian of such child, stating that the parent, parents or guardian objects to their child’s immunization due to sincere and genuine religious beliefs which prohibit the immunization of their child in which case the principal or person in charge may require supporting documents.
In the area provided below, please write your statement. The statement must address all of the following elements:
• Explain in your own words why you are requesting this religious exemption.
• Describe the religious principles that guide your objection to immunization.
• Indicate whether you are opposed to all immunizations, and if not, the religious basis that prohibits particular immunizations.
|To the Building Principal:
If, after review of the parental statement, questions remain about the existence of a sincerely held religious belief, Department of Health regulation [10 NYCRR, Section 66-1.3(d)] permits the principal to request supporting documents. Some examples include:
• A letter from an authorized representative of the church, temple, religious institution, etc. attended by the parent/guardian, literature from the church, temple, religious institution, etc. explaining doctrine/beliefs that prohibit immunization (Note: Parents/guardians need not necessarily be a member of an organized religion or religious institution to obtain a religious exemption);
• Other writings or sources upon which the parent/guardian relied in formulating religious beliefs that prohibit immunization;
• A copy of any parental/guardian statements to healthcare providers or school district officials in a district of prior residence explaining the religious basis for refusing immunization;
• Any documents or other information the parent/guardian may be willing to provide that reflect a sincerely held religious objection to immunization (for example: disclosure of whether parent/guardian or other children have been immunized, parent/guardian’s current position on allowing himself or herself or his or her children to receive or refuse other kinds of medical treatment.)
|School district officials are charged with the responsibility of determining, on a case-by-case basis, whether a parent/guardian is entitled to invoke the religious exemption from required immunizations. Because of the personal nature of the subject matter and the potential implication of First Amendment rights, school officials must exercise extreme sensitivity and great care when inquiring into the nature of a parent’s/guardian’s beliefs.|
|As required by regulation, in order to obtain a religious exemption to immunization for a child, a parent/guardian must submit a written and signed statement stating his or her religious objection to immunization. On the Parent/Guardian Statement Form, the elements listed for inclusion in the written statement are intended to assist the parent/guardian in providing a statement that clearly and completely articulates the sincere and genuine religious beliefs which prohibit the immunization of his or her child.
If the parent/guardian follows the instructions on the form, most requests will be able to be implemented based solely on the basis of the written statement. The supporting documents suggestion is intended only as an illustrative, not inclusive, list and any supporting documents should be requested only when questions remain about the existence of a sincerely held religious belief based on review of the parental/guardian statement.
Originally Posted by AmyC
Has anyone here used the religious exemption in New York with this form? How challenging was it?
Originally Posted by LizD
Really? My school just gave us the Exemption form and I filled in our names and signed it. No explanation or name of religion or anything. The form I signed doesn't look like your link at all.
Originally Posted by xmysticprincessx
but i dont think she mentioned her religion.
Originally Posted by arlecchina
hmm, so far as I was aware it was a violation of civil rights to ask for religion/specifics?? I mean if you refuse to give reasons, what can they do?
Originally Posted by LongIsland
If a NY parent explains their religious beliefs and the beliefs are actually philosophical, then an exemption may be denied. If a parent in NY explains to the school that they oppose aborted fetal cells and want to exempt their child from the MMR requirement, their exemption will be denied because you must be opposed to the "practice" of immunization. If a parent states that vaccines are harmful and dangerous, their exemption will almost definitely be denied.
Because of the language in the law and the judge's ruling on "reasonable" inquiries, the "Genuine and Sincere Police" are then able to weed out those parents who do not hold genuine and sincere beliefs contrary to the practice of immunization. If you refuse to answer their questions, your exemption may be denied. It's happened quite often in NY and the Commissioner of Education and the courts will rule in favor of the school.
It is not against the law for them to inquire. This is why it's important for NY parents to know the law and what to write . . . and what not to write.
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