Judge: Health Dept. can continue to bar unvaccinated kids from schoolPosted: Updated:
A judge sided with the Rockland County Department of Health over required vaccinations Monday.
Parents from Green Meadow Waldorf School made a public plea at White Plains federal court, saying their children were barred from going to school.
The more than 20 parents said their children have not been allowed to go to Green Meadow Waldorf School since December because their children did not get the measles vaccine.
The hearing, which allows the Health Department to continue excluding unvaccinated children, lasted only an hour. The judge telegraphed his ultimate ruling from a mile away.
The judge explained to the parents at the end of the hearing that the Health Department has every right to protect the children in its county, especially during the measles outbreak. It is the largest measles outbreak in the state of New York since 1989, according to the health commissioner.
Green Meadow parents say keeping children away from their classmates is doing more harm than good, and they believe the Department of Health is overreaching.
"It does appear that this unprecedented and ambiguously rendered policy has been effective in putting pressure on the families who cannot afford to stay home,” said one parent at the hearing.
The parents wouldn't say why they chose not to vaccinate their children, but 37 out of the 60 schools under the Health Department's exclusion order have met the standard for vaccinated students. Those children are back in class.
Rockland County Attorney Thomas Humbach says public health is the primary objective of the government.
"We've had success to this moment,” he says. “The case is not over we will continue to press forward to protect the public."
The exclusion order says the students at Green Meadow Waldorf School will not be allowed back in the classroom until it has been 21 days since the last reported case of measles.