What you should know
- There are approximately 34,000 students in LAUSD who have failed the vaccination mandate and will not be ready to return to class on January 10, the deadline set by the mandate.
- The difficulty, regardless of the court decision, will be to move these 34,000 unvaccinated students to independent study programs rather than face-to-face classes.
- There is no evidence of LAUSD giving in, with no indulgence or extended deadlines for the vaccine request mentioned in the public discussion.
The debate over whether all students in the Los Angeles Unified School District should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before going back to school in January found its way to court on Wednesday.
About 84% of the students at LAUSD schools have complied with the mandatory vaccination and are fully vaccinated.
However, according to the Los Angeles Times, there are approximately 34,000 students in LAUSD who have failed the vaccination mandate and are unwilling to return to class on January 10, the deadline set in the mandate.
Two non-profit groups are challenging this mandate in the LA Superior Court by filing legal action against LAUSD, calling the vaccination requirement “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.
The challenge was filed against LAUSD last month after the Education Committee voted to require full COVID-19 vaccination as a requirement for every student 12 and older to attend classroom classes.
One of the parties filing the lawsuit against LAUSD is Children’s Health Defense, a group founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that opposes vaccines in general and falsely claims that vaccines cause autism.
The attorney for the California chapter of Children’s Health Defense says they posted a cease and desist letter to the county on Sept. 17 to avoid further legal action.
The district’s health company declined to respond, the attorney said. This group, united with protecting children’s educational rights, says they have no choice but to take legal action.
The question is whether all students aged 12 and over should be vaccinated before returning to school in January. Michelle Valles will report for Today in LA on Wednesday, December 8, 2021.
LAUSD has one of the toughest vaccination regulations for students and staff in the country. Students are considered compliant if they receive the vaccine, receive a medical exemption, or are given a rare time extension due to their extenuating personal circumstances.
From Wednesday, there will not be enough time for students to be fully vaccinated by January 10, the beginning of the second semester, if they have not already received their first dose.
A mother of three who only gave her first name, Natalie, told NBC4 she wasn’t against COVID-19 vaccines – just the mandate.
“LAUSD is not above the law,” she said. “This is an illegal mandate because it is illegal to issue an EEA, an emergency permit, or a drug. What those vaccines are for the under-16 group.”
The US Department of Justice has issued a statement stating that EEA status does not prohibit companies or other entities from requesting vaccines. However, that does not necessarily mean that the courts will agree.
There is no evidence of LAUSD giving in, with no indulgence or extended deadlines for the vaccine request mentioned in the public discussion. The school council should discuss the lawsuit in a closed session on Thursday.
“Los Angeles Unified is working to ensure that all students receive the best possible instruction in the safest possible environment,” said a public statement from the district. “Strong scientific evidence shows that vaccination is an essential part of protecting our communities.”
LAUSD interim superintendent Megan K. Reilly says they plan to keep it that way.
The difficulty, regardless of the court decision, will be to move these 34,000 unvaccinated students to independent study programs rather than face-to-face classes.