Sunday, November 18, 2007

School threatens parents with 10 days in jail

Why am I not surprised.

No Flu Shot for Kids? Go Directly to Jail

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (Nov. 17) - Scores of grumbling parents facing a threat of jail lined up at a courthouse Saturday to either prove that their school-age kids already had their required vaccinations or see that the youngsters submitted to the needle.

The get-tough policy in the Washington suburbs of Prince George's County was one of the strongest efforts made by any U.S. school system to ensure its youngsters receive their required immunizations.

There is some debate on the efficacy and safety of all immunizations. Whether it is dangerous, harmless or beneficial, forced immunization sounds like Nazi Germany. It reminds me of the medical experiments they would do on the prisoners in the concentration camps.

So Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols ordered parents in a letter to appear at the courthouse Saturday and either get their children vaccinated on the spot or risk up to 10 days in jail. They could also provide proof of vaccination or an explanation why their kids didn't have them.

Who gave the school that kind of power? Even if I wanted my child to have a flu shot or thought it would be wonderful if every child was immunized, I wouldn't send my child to a school system that threatens parents with jail over such a minor point.

The fatality rates for influenza are highest for children under the age of 5, thus a forced immunization for school aged children is not much of a benefit to them. The Immunization Action Coalition which exists to promoted immunization states on their web page that "Influenza-associated deaths are uncommon among children...".

In fact, the fatality rate for school age children is less than 50 per year in the entire United States. Doctors recommend that routine flu immunization begins at age 50!! I don't know too many 50 year olds who are students in public school.

I did some research and found that the benefit of flu immunization of school age children is a reduced illness rates of unvaccinated adults, such as school staff and elderly. If vaccines were limited, such as during a pandemic, immunizing school children may provide herd immunity to the society as a whole. This phenomenon exists because schools and institutional settings are such a breeding ground for disease.

UPDATE: The headline mentions the flu vaccination, but I can't find it on the school website. It is possible that the flu shot is not required. However, I found that chickenpox was required.

Preparing for a pandemic is a great idea but forced vaccination of children is not the way to do it. It sets a dangerous precedent. So much for living in a free country. You are not doing someone a favor if you have to twist there arm first.

I did some checking on the Prince George’s County Public Schools and the surrounding community. I wonder what role demographics played in this policy.

Policies like the above mentioned are a reason why we chose to homeschool. Public education has become a weapon for political expediency.

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Marbel said...

Are they really talking about mandatory flu shots? I didn't see flu mentioned in the article. In any case, the issue of immunizations and school attendance is difficult to resolve. Another reason I'm glad I homeschool!

Janine Cate said...

That's funny, the headline mentioned the flu vaccination, but the school website doesn't.

MomToAnAngel said...

After hearing about this story, I actually took it upon myself to call Prince County board of education to get the complete story. Unfortunately the media does a very poor job in reporting the facts. You can read about my conversation with the board on my blog. Trust me when I say- I do NOT support government mandating child's medical needs and do not feel schools have a license to tell you what your child does or does not need.

Janine Cate said...

Good research! Here's the link to her post.

Sebastian said...

It looks like AOL has actually changed its headline to remove references to flu shots.