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Q13. Is requiring unvaccinated, symptom-less children to stay home during an outbreak discrimination?

Q13. My children's school is requiring my unvaccinated children to stay home for two weeks because one child with chickenpox has 'exposed' the class to chickenpox. Am I being discriminated against?

State laws differ somewhat from state to state.

However, the first problem is that most states write into their exemption laws, the power to remove an unvaccinated child from school when there has been an exposure to disease. Typically this removal is controlled by the local health department.

So yes, you are being discriminated against and likely this discrimination is "legal", at least until someone challenges and wins a case against this type of discrimination.

Keep in mind that a prolonged absence from school by several children may cost the school district money and this fact may give you some leverage if you hint or even boldly threaten to take all your children out of school permanently. home schooling is a good option for many parents but not possible or practical for many. It is questionable to keep children in a school which engages in the unenlightened behavior of endorsing sales propaganda over real science.

Do you want to fight this legally? (you may have to literally get new laws passed in your state)
Do you want to try to educate the health department and local school officials? (typically, a difficult and slow job)
Do you want to withdraw your child from school and home school?

The first thing you may want to do, is talk to other parents in your area who do not vaccinate and find out what actions Health departments and Child Protective services have made in the past.

We suggest you write the school a letter and ask that they supply you with a letter officially stating the school district's request for your children to be absent from school. Ask them to explain in writing the following:

Why they are endorsing a commercial "sales" concept that the vaccine protects the vaccinated children but that natural immunity will not protect your children?
And why they believe that disease in an unvaccinated child will overcome the "protection" give by vaccination and thus put vaccinated children at risk?

Why they are endorsing the concept that your children are at risk from a disease to which they have been exposed to many times previously by exposure to children who had been vaccinated with the live chickenpox vaccine?

Why they are asking only healthy unvaccinated children who show no symptoms of disease to be excluded from school? Perhaps you should state in writing that you always keep your children out of school if they show any fever or symptoms of disease but that you feel it is discriminatory to keep your children out of school when they show no symptoms of disease and other symptom-less children are not also excluded.

Why vaccinated children exposed to the child with chickenpox are not being asked to remain out of school given that at least 1 in five, if not more, are susceptible to chickenpox, a rate which is probably greater than the risk your healthy children face. (see link info below)

Ask them why it would not make more sense to let your already exposed children to stay in school and remove them only if they show symptoms of disease? And point out this is an event which you do not anticipate is likely.

Asking for this in writing will at a minimum put the school district on notice that you intend to document their actions and requests. It will also give you time to better research your state laws and come to a decision about what you chose to do in response to this bit of modern 'educational' insanity.

Some useful links and information are below which may be useful. Asking questions and showing your resolve may be all that is required to get a favorable ruling for your children. I suggest you be polite but firm in dealing with the health department, remember your opponents have the guns, but you have the knowledge and wear the white hat.
"The duration of protection of VARIVAX is unknown at present and the need for booster doses is not defined. Post-marketing experience suggests that transmission of vaccine virus may occur rarely between healthy vacinees who develop a varicella-like rash and healthy susceptible contacts. Transmission of vaccine virus from vaccinees without a varicella-like rash has been reported. Among a subset of vaccinees who were actively followed, 259 were exposed to an individual with chickenpox in a household setting...20% reported a mild form of chickenpox." [Chickenpox, VARIVAX, Merck] (page of information)
So how are vaccines tested for efficacy? All vaccines are licensed based on their ability to produce antibodies to a particular antigen. However, according to the CDC, antibody production for chickenpox, whooping cough, smallpox and H. flu has never been proven in the field to equate to immunity from the disease. In fact, people with incredibly high levels of tetanus antibodies have been known to contract tetanus.
MIL_VAX, Chickenpox Package Insert 01 Dec 03 Chickenpox Vaccine (Merck)

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