A mom from upstate New York said her two daughters, ages 13 and 15, have been out of school for months since they were kicked out for being unvaccinated.
Marina Williams and her children moved to Orchard Park in October and quickly encountered problems with their school district’s vaccination policies, she told WIVB.
Her children’s previous school district, West Seneca, accepted the unvaccinated girls under a religious exception rule.
Orchard Park denied the mom’s religious exception and removed the girls from their classes on November 30, according to Insider.
They’ve been out of school ever since and can return when they receive vaccinations. Now, Williams is suing the school district. She told WIVB:
“The Orchard Park school system is asking me to go against everything that I believe in and my faith.”
The mom is part of the Temple of the Inner Flame church, which she says doesn’t support putting “foreign substances” in the body.
This includes alcohol, drugs, and vaccines, according to Insider. Williams explained:
“I’ve never had a vaccine before. My mother, my sister, my aunt, haven’t either. To me, that was just a given…I’ve never had to defend it before.”
Frank Housh, the mom’s lawyer, said she understands there are a “large public health concerns related to vaccination.” But he said this has to do with the school district:
“These children dont have to be vaccinated if they have a legitimate religious reason not to do that. The law says they have to be educated, they are refusing to do that.”
The lawsuit claims that the school district didn’t offer an alternative education option to the girls, and alleges district staff threatened to call Child Protective Services on the mom.
Orchard Park said in a statement that it’s looking out for the best interest of students and employees:
“A school district has no duty more important than protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its students and staff. Ensuring the immunization requirements under New York State law have been met is critical to carrying out this duty. Because this matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time.”
Williams and her lawyer have appealed the decision regarding the religious exception to the Commissioner of Education, but it’s unclear how long it will take to get a decision.