Parents Fight 'Irrational' Rule on Measles, Judge Pushes Back

NY officials say 'exclusion order' stops spread of disease; judge agrees
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2019 8:17 AM CDT
Shrink
Unvaccinated kids won't be allowed back to Green Meadow till they've had their shots, the measles cases die down, or the school's vaccination rate hits a certain threshold.   (Getty Images/Jovanmandic)

(Newser) – No measles cases have been confirmed at the Green Meadow Waldorf School—and health officials in Rockland County, NY, where there's been an "unprecedented" outbreak, want to keep it that way. A federal judge agreed Tuesday, denying a request by parents of more than three dozen unvaccinated kids to overturn an "exclusion order" by the county's health department that has kept their children out of the private preschool/K-12 school, even with religious exemptions against immunization, the New York Times reports. "The plaintiffs have not demonstrated that public interest weighs in favor of granting an injunction," Judge Vincent Briccetti said, per the Journal News. "While no one enjoys the fact that these kids are out of school, these orders have ... helped prevent the measles outbreak from spreading to this school population," Thomas Humbach, the county attorney, added in a statement.

An attorney for affected parents, however, calls Briccetti's decision "remarkably irrational in every conceivable way," with the parents' complaint noting an upheaval to both the educational process and the kids' constitutional rights. There've been more than 140 measles cases in Rockland since October, with many cases involving Orthodox Jewish communities. The exclusion order issued Dec. 5 mandated that schools in two ZIP codes with vaccination rates below a 95% threshold block unvaccinated kids from attending until there are no newly diagnosed measles cases in the area for at least 21 days. Per the county health department, the vaccination rate at Green Meadow's elementary school is 56%, up from 33% in December; the school contends that number is much higher. The suit notes none of the school's excluded kids or their relatives have been diagnosed with measles. (Read more measles stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
5%
7%
2%
64%
8%
14%