Are vaccinations mandatory for public and private school students?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 15, 2019

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In almost every public school district and most private schools across the United States, medical vaccinations for communicable diseases are a mandatory registration requirement for any child to attend school in the school district. Courts have generally upheld these vaccination requirements, but exceptions may be made for those with religious objections.

Understanding Vaccination Requirements

Required vaccinations provide protection for both teachers and students from harmful diseases that were once considered highly dangerous and contagious. Required vaccinations are widely viewed as a matter of sound public health policy. As such, in order for your child to register in a public school district, he or she will need to be vaccinated and have documented proof that his or her vaccinations are up to date and current.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the regulations regarding pre-registration vaccinations have not been met with some concern and controversy, such as the recent controversy regarding a possible link between an ingredient in old vaccinations and autism in children. Though the study which created the autism controversy was recently discredited by the academic community, the perceived risk has led to some parents refusing to comply with these vaccination requirements. Others have objections to medications (including vaccines) based on religion, etc.

Thus, while vaccinations are a general requirement, it may be possible to avoid vaccinations by asserting to the school district that you are voicing a religious exemption. You will need to submit the relevant forms detailing your exemption to the school district for consideration. Such exemptions are generally upheld as well, as they are guaranteed under the freedom of religion clauses in the U.S. Constitution.

Getting Help – Vaccination Requirements

If you have concerns about the vaccination requirements in your local school district, it is in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney. He or she can help you understand and comply with the requirements, or take steps to opt out if you believe that is the right choice for your child and family.

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