June 8, 2019 — Has anyone thought about what will happen to disabled children who have a religious exemption to vaccination if S2994 & A2371 gets passed in Albany, NY?
Answer – THEY GET KICKED OUT OF SCHOOL.
These children and their parents will be forced into segregation, into their homes away from society and the community. We are headed back to the dark ages in terms of how we care for disabled children in the community if this bill becomes a law.
I had the chance to read a letter from a special education teacher who opposes S2994 & A2371. This teacher gave me permission to publish the letter at the FED UP DEM blog anonymously. I am thankful for that, as this letter lays out a very powerful narrative as to how horrible this bill will be to one of the most vulnerable population in our state – disabled children:
Dear Senators, Assemblyman/women, Governor and concerned parties:
I have been a New York State licensed Special Education Teacher for 12 years and worked with adults with disabilities for 5 years prior to becoming a teacher. I am writing to express my concern that a law is being considered in Albany which will discriminate against and segregate children with disabilities. There are hundreds if not thousands of disabled children in New York public schools right now that will be kicked out if S2994 is eventually signed into law. I am strongly opposed to bill S2994 and its companion A2371, which would revoke the religious exemption to vaccination.
I have dedicated 17 years of my life to working with people with disabilities, working with them inside of school buildings, in vocational workshops, in dayhab centers as well as in the community at positions of competitive employment. I personally know children with disabilities that are unvaccinated who have been in the public-school system for years and have never caused any health problems that differed from their vaccinated peers. Many of the disabled adults I worked with were survivors of Willowbrook; a facility in upstate New York that robbed the disabled of all dignity in complete segregation, treating them like caged animals. Hundreds of people have fought extremely hard to ensure conditions in state and non-profit facilities for the disabled were drastically improved, vowing people with disabilities would never be treated as sub-human ever again.
Today we have a new challenge, where many disabled children once again are facing discrimination and segregation that violates federal law. Disabled children whose parents have sincere religious beliefs against vaccination are on the verge of being excluded from public education, even though for decades such children have been in public schools posing no harm to anyone. Harvard schooled immunologist Tetyana Obukhanych, Ph.D., has recently documented precisely how and why unvaccinated children pose no more risk to the public health than vaccinated children do.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against children with disabilities based on fear of contagious disease, including not only actual contagiousness but also perceived contagiousness. The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has articulated this clearly: “Persons, such as those with AIDS, who are ‘regarded’ as impaired, are just as ‘handicapped’ under the law as those who possess the physical limitations that arise from any other commonly recognized disability. Discrimination based solely on the fear of contagion is discrimination based on handicap when the impairment has that effect on others.” (emphasis added). Under this law, children with illnesses like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B cannot legally be excluded from school for “fear of contagion.”
Exclusion of a healthy unvaccinated child from a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is also based on “fear of contagion” and is therefore impermissible under federal law. For example, since a child with chronic hepatitis B cannot legally be excluded from school based on fear of contagion, then a healthy child likewise cannot be excluded from school based on a perception that he/she is infectious or contagious with hepatitis B solely because he has not received a HepB vaccine.
Unvaccinated children are being scapegoated as the source of a recent measles outbreak when not one shred of evidence has been presented to prove such an allegation. They are being portrayed as “sick” and “diseased” and branded with a scarlet letter that they are unsafe to be around and must be kicked out of public spaces, especially schools. However they are perfectly healthy children posing no more of a threat then a vaccinated child. The fact is that a child recently vaccinated with the MMR is far more likely to spread measles than an unvaccinated child.
The MMR vaccine is a live-virus vaccine and has the potential to “shed,” meaning the live virus can travel from the recently vaccinated individual to others they contact. This is widely known and accepted by the medical and scientific community. All doctors know anyone recently vaccinated must stay away from newborns and immunocompromised individuals for this very reason. We also know that during the Disneyland measles outbreak in 2015 of the 194 cases of reported measles, 73 were identified as vaccine sequence, meaning they originated from the MMR vaccine itself, as published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. (https://jcm.asm.org/content/55/3/735)
It has also been established that the MMR vaccine can, and does, cause measles in some people who get the vaccine. We know this to be true from Merck’s own data. It is listed in their package insert as the first potential adverse reaction
Getting vaccinated with the MMR vaccine is by no means a guarantee a child will not contract or spread measles. Do not discriminate and segregate children based on unfounded claims and fear. Please oppose S2994 and A2371.
Thank you for your time