Vaccinations are kind of a hot topic. While some people, doctors included, defend vaccinations and claim that they are important to protect our children and prevent situations like measles outbreaks, the anti-vaxxers claim that vaccinations aren’t safe and refuse to let their children get them.
There are even stories of teenage children of anti-vaxxers who desperately want to be vaccinated but have to wait until they turn 18. Then there are parents who are split on the issue, one is against vaccines, and the other one gets the children vaccinated.
What we don’t hear a lot about is choosing not to vaccinate your children not because you’re an anti-vaxxer but do to religious beliefs.
Last October, Marina Williams and her two daughters moved from the West Seneca School District to the Orchard Park School District, which is in a suburb of Buffalo, New York. The girls are not vaccinated, but they were able to attend school in the West Seneca School District without any problem due to a religious exception.
Orchard Park refuses to let the teens attend school until they are vaccinated. They have denied a religious exception. Now, Williams is taking the school district to court.
Williams says that her family has not been vaccinated for generations. She hasn’t been vaccinated. Her mother hasn’t been vaccinated. She never even thought of it as an option for her daughters.
Williams claims that her religion, the Temple of the Inner Flame, does not allow alcohol, drugs and immunizations. She said, “The Orchard Park school system is asking me to go against everything that I believe in and my faith.”
The girls have now been out of school for several months, and they have not received any sort of alternative source of education. At 15-years-old and 17-years-old they are only getting further behind on their studies.
The Orchard Park School District’s lawyers have released a statement that reads, “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.”
Hear what Williams’ lawyer, Frank Housh, has to say about this situation in the video below.
There isn’t much information online about the Temple of the Inner Flame. Have you heard of this religion?