Culture

'No Immunizations, No School' for Los Angeles Unified School District Students

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Sanity prevails, for now.

School starts Tuesday for the nation’s second-largest school district, and if your kids aren’t vaccinated they won’t be allowed in class.

SB 277—California’s hard-line vaccination law—was signed by Governor Jerry Brown last June, but it didn’t officially go into effect until 2016, meaning this is the first school year where personal and religious exemptions for vaccines will no longer be allowed be for California school children. More specifically, the law requires that any child who attends a public or private school, or goes to a daycare center be vaccinated unless they have a medical exemption, meaning that the more than a half-million students returning to LAUSD schools must show proof that they are fully vaccinated before they can attend class, according to KTLA.

The new law is particularly relevant in L.A., where self-righteous rich people have opted out of vaccinating their kids en masse in recent years, leading some wealthy Westside schools to have vaccination rates on par with those seen in developing countries (See Gary Baum’s excellent 2014 Hollywood Reporter feature on the matter for a full account).

As the article mentions, this has been a huge problem here in West L.A. My daughter’s high school day care was shut down after a measles outbreak last year, which left a lot of teachers with no alternative to take care of their kids. That meant they couldn’t work and the school was scrambling for replacements. The anti-vaxxers love to chant “My child, my choice,” which is only completely valid in a world where your child doesn’t come into contact with any other kids. That’s not too different from being subjective about traffic laws, which also exist for the public good.

While I am not a big fan of too much regulation, I’m even less thrilled about letting diseases that have almost been eradicated hit children because of a bunch of urban myth non-science. I have been taking my daughter to the doctor for over a month to complete the series of vaccines that she’s required to have before she starts college next month. That’s comforting to me as a parent, not an encroachment on my rights or duties.