Four students are now part of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the San Diego Unified School District’s vaccination mandate, arguing it violates their religious beliefs.
Starting this summer, San Diego Unified students ages 16 and older will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The district mandates it where there is full FDA clearance, which currently includes ages 16 and older. Officials take medical exemptions, but not those for religious or personal beliefs.
The lawsuit originally covered a student at Scripps Ranch High School, and an emergency relief petition went to the U.S. Supreme Court, but was dismissed due to lack of warrant policy. official at the time.
Joanna Sax, a professor at the California Western School of Law, specializes in health care law and reviewed the federal complaint.
The students argue that the requirement violates their religious First Amendment rights, “due to their association with abortion.” Some things come out of Sax.
“They never disclose what religion is their objection – they say they’re Christians – they identify as Christians, but it’s very broad,” she said.
Sax points the finger at the Catholic Church where the pope has said he is in favor of vaccines.
“I know that other Christian denominations aren’t necessarily as centralized as the Catholic Church, but I found it interesting that they don’t identify which Christian sect they belong to that supports religious exemption,” he said. she declared.
She also found the complaint inconsistent in some places. He said one of the students already had COVID-19 and was therefore immune to catching or spreading it, but another teenager is then mentioned who has been infected twice.
“One of their arguments is that these teenagers have all had COVID-19, so they have natural immunity and they can’t get it and they can’t pass it on to other people, but that’s not isn’t true because one of them has had it multiple times,” she said.
Sax doesn’t see the lawsuit prevailing, especially since California doesn’t allow religious or personal exemptions when it comes to vaccinating children in schools – something she says has been repeatedly challenged. .
“And all those lost challenges,” she said.
Lawyers representing the families said the district couldn’t hide behind procedural delays and they’re confident the requirement will be removed before the fall term.
“We have amended our complaint, added new plaintiffs and are confident that we will eventually obtain a permanent injunction – for our clients and all students with sincere religious objections,” said Paul Jonna, Partner at LiMandri & Jonna LLP.
San Diego Unified is meeting its vaccination mandate, which will go into effect during the upcoming summer session.
“The district continues to make student health and safety a top priority, and vaccines remain a key part of that commitment,” said SDUSD spokeswoman Maureen Magee. “The district is aware of the amendment at trial, which does not impact the viability of the case.”
The state of California is also looking to implement its own COVID-19 vaccine requirement. The earliest that could come is the 2023 school year, pending full FDA approval for under-16s.