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#1 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. I need some assistance. We have just moved back to New York and I need to get my son enrolled in school as soon as possible so that I can work. They want a letter from a religious official to exempt him from immunizations. Can you please guide me in the right direction?

I apologize if this has already been discussed. I've been trying to search through previous posts and not having much luck and am in a hurry.

Thank you!!
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#2 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 03:37 PM
 
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Is this a public or private school?
Preschool or elementary school?

If it's public school, I can tell you right off the bat that you will need to explain your beliefs. I'm assuming it's a private school, because a public school wouldn't ask for a letter from the church.

I can help you with a letter either way.
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#3 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It is a public school. Elementary in Brooklyn. Of course we're their first non-vax family. I called another elementary school in Brooklyn in an area that has lots of non-vax families and they said the same thing is required. Thank you for your help Long Island!!!!
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#4 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 05:29 PM
 
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It is absolutely not required and if they give you a problem, just tell them they can take it up with Julia Sykes at the NYC Board of Education.

I'll PM you a letter.
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#5 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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Check your PM box. I addressed the letter to Julia Sykes, but I'm trying to get the name of the guy who now handles the Brooklyn exemptions. We had one mama here who had to send her exemption to a specific person in the Brooklyn BOE health district, but I think I deleted her PM because I can't find it.

If I find the name by tonight, I'll PM you by tonight. If not, just have the school send it to Ms. Sykes because she'll either approve/deny it herself or send it on to the gentleman in Brooklyn.
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#6 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 06:19 PM
 
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Your letter with either be addressed to Neil Sommerfeld or Helena Bowens (see district numbers):


Brooklyn East
District 17,18, 19,22, 23,32


Helena Bowens
5619 Flatlands Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11234
(718) 968–6187


Brooklyn West & Staten Island
District: 13,14,15,16,20,21,31


Neil Somerfeld
131 Livingston Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 935–3987
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#7 of 19 Old 05-02-2007, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you soo much!!! You have been so very helpful!!!
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#8 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Long Island,
If they happen to call me, can you pm me as to how to handle it? I'm trying to be as prepared as possible since I need to get this process done as quickly as possible. Thank you!!!
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#9 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 12:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Afejo View Post
Long Island,
If they happen to call me, can you pm me as to how to handle it? I'm trying to be as prepared as possible since I need to get this process done as quickly as possible. Thank you!!!

Absolutely, you must be prepared. But you won't get a phone call, any questions/concerns the BOE has will be addressed in writing. If you get anything, just PM me immediately. Just a note - it may take several weeks/months befroe you get an accept or deny response.

That one Brooklyn mama here (I didn't assist with her letter) was asked to come in for an in-person interview with Mr. Sommerfeld. Everything went smoothly, but they can do what it takes to make sure your beliefs are "genuine and sincere."
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#10 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, does that mean I won't be able to put him in school until then?
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#11 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 01:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Afejo View Post
Wow, does that mean I won't be able to put him in school until then?
As soon as you submit the letter to the school, he can be registered. If anyone tells you otherwise, don't leave the office and tell them to immediately contact Mr. Sommerfeld or Julia Sykes. If they refuse, ask to speak with the principal.

Take Mr. Sommerfeld's telephone number with you just in case.
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#12 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you know offhand if this is this in writing anywhere, that this is the policy? I thought if so, I could just bring a copy of it in to them.
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#13 of 19 Old 05-03-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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Do you know offhand if this is this in writing anywhere, that this is the policy? I thought if so, I could just bring a copy of it in to them.
I haven't seen anything in writing, but they cannot hold up a registration while an exemption approval is pending. The NYC BOE can take weeks/months before the parent is given a response.

Besides, even if you weren't using an exemtpion, there's a "grace period" for any un/undervaccinated child so the parent has time to get the required immunizations.
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#14 of 19 Old 05-04-2007, 09:32 AM
 
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Hello,

I just read this and now I am even more SCARED!!!
I did not know that it's this hard to get the exemption
in NY State. This is why I feel like moving away from NY.
My DH cannot stop pressuring me about DD starting school
ASAP. So, we went for this orientation in our neighborhood's
Montessori school. I liked it, but for some reason my inner
voice keeps telling me that it won't be the right one for my
DD.... Anyway, once the tour finished I waited for the other
2 mothers to leave and asked the director about the exemption.
Her face had changed immidiately, she said that she wasn't
sure if they can take my daughter without her up to date shots.
She also said that she would call the NYS DOH because she is
positive that they've changed the exemption laws for NY State
just recently. But she told us that they got more STRICT!!!
I told her I didn't hear about this, and it's true I wasn't lying to
her. She promised to call us back by Friday (which is today),
but NO calls from her as yet. I have this strange feeling about
her, rather not being botherd to even find out, so they would
not have to deal with their first unvax child in their school.
But either way I am still very scared. We will have to keep looking
for a school for DD, so as I read about the "they might call you in
for an interview" just to explain my religious beliefs....hm, now that
I would screw up for sure. I am a person who is always afraid to
talk to people, because I know I make huge mistakes, esp. when
I know that the person I am talking to is "evaluating" me...my native
language isn't English and I know I get very nervous when I have to
talk with someone who's out of my "comfort zone". I'd mess up that
interview, I just know. But there's NO WAY on Earth that I'd let
anyone, in any circumstances pressure me into vaccinating my DD!
She is PURE and I won't let anything spoil that. But then DH is telling
me that he'll take her himself to the doc., so she would get all her
shots and be able to attend school, just like other NORMAL kids.
( he's very pro-vax, so it's been a rough journey so far to convince
him that DD will be just fine, actually, much better off without the
shots, that "normal" kids receive )
What should I do???? It's like someone keeping me in darkness, so I
can't see. Because I am new to this, did not have to deal with the
exemption issue before, but seems like there's no way I will escape
it. I am just scared that it'll come to a nasty ending, since I am a person
who chose not to vax because it's very unnatural, also if I think about it
hard enough than I realize that it is against my religion, so vaccines
just won't ever fit into my "circle of beliefs". I won't allow them for my DD!

Can anyone, please anyone, help me through this journey? To be there
to guide me and give me advice, support, to get the exemption?

LongIsland, you simply blow my mind away, each time I read your posts
it's like I'm wondering if you are "the walking, talking vax-info Bible!?"

Could YOU, please be my guide? I've done my part of reading on vaccinations,
but I couldn't defend myself if someone (like a doc.) would start questioning
me why I'm not vaxing....I know this is crazy, but I don't like to get into
arguments because I get so heated that all the English words I've learnt
so far tend to leave my brain and I'm ready to speak my language.
I'd rather do this the calm way. And I need to come out of this as the winner.

Please, help me mamas!
PLEASE!!!

Kristina(29) mama to Jasmine(4) -:

SAHM to my three
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#15 of 19 Old 05-04-2007, 09:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Kristina77 View Post
She also said that she would call the NYS DOH because she is positive that they've changed the exemption laws for NY State
just recently. But she told us that they got more STRICT!!!
NYS recently created guidelines (see link above) for school age children (not preschools) The reason why she may believe it's stricter is because the guidelines "officially" call for an explanation of beliefs in order to determine if the parents beliefs are indeed genuine and sincere. Before the guidelines, a lot of schools/districts did care whether or not the parent explained - as long as they had something in writing.

It actually makes it easier because the schools, if they decide to follow the guidelines, can't be a pain in the arse like the NYC BOE and ask for interviews after the parent has already explained their beliefs in writing. Unfortunately, the NYC BOE has not adopted the guidelines.

Private schools don't typically go through the trouble the NYC BOE does, so don't worry about interviews.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristina77 View Post
Can anyone, please anyone, help me through this journey? To be there to guide me and give me advice, support, to get the exemption?

Could YOU, please be my guide?
Of course - I really wouldn't worry though. It doesn't sound like they're saying they won't accept an unvaxed child, but that they just need guidance from the DOH. She's going to call the DOH and once they tell her the deal, everything should be fine. I'll send you a letter via PM today.
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#16 of 19 Old 05-05-2007, 08:59 PM
 
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Hi - I'm probably going to enroll my daughter in a Brooklyn elementary this fall. Can I just get the exemption so I can school-shop without worry, or do I have to know where where she is going first, then get the exemption? LongIsland, I sent you a PM a week or two ago - did you get it?
Thanks!

Elizabeth

http://www.xojane.com/author/elizabeth

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#17 of 19 Old 05-05-2007, 10:32 PM
 
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Wow, this NYS policy sounds ripe for a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.
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#18 of 19 Old 05-05-2007, 11:33 PM
 
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Wow, this NYS policy sounds ripe for a lawsuit on First Amendment grounds.
The US Supreme Court ruled on this fairly recently and NY is operating within the law.

"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#19 of 19 Old 11-08-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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Bumping for someone.
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