SDUSD vaccine mandate temporarily blocked by Court of Appeal

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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Eligible students in the San Diego Unified School District will not have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend in-person classes … for now. Late Sunday evening, a judge temporarily blocked the district’s vaccination mandate.

Lawyer Paul Jonna is with the Thomas More Society, a conservative Catholic law firm.

“She’s a devout Christian. She’s very pro-life,” Jonna said of her client.

He represents the family of a 16-year-old student at Scripps Ranch High School, claiming that her religious beliefs prohibit her from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

“They don’t want to take any vaccine that has been made or tested using aborted fetal cell lines,” Jonna explained.

The COVID-19 vaccines available now were created after the companies tested cell lines from aborted fetuses from the 1970s and 1980s. Tylenol, Benadryl and Claritin used similar techniques. Current fetal cell lines are cultured in the laboratory and do not contain any tissue from a fetus.

The district mandate allows for medical exemptions, such as pregnancy, allowing students to stay on campus for school and extracurricular activities. But the neighborhood does not allow religious exemptions.

Students who do not comply should enroll in independent study programs.

“They allow all of these secular exemptions,” Jonna said. “They must also respect people’s First Amendment rights and treat religious activity just as well.”

Sunday night’s appeals court ruling means Jonna’s client can stay on campus and play sports for the time being, and hopefully get a college scholarship.

Although the Catholic faith teaches pro-life, the Vatican said a year ago that it was “morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines … if there is serious danger.”

The Bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, echoed this sentiment in a message to local priests in August, saying:

“Receiving the COVID vaccine is perfectly in line with the Catholic faith, and even laudatory in light of the common good in this time of pandemic … I ask you … to carefully refuse such requests from your parishioners to sign ..” statements regarding the shares. specific individuals rejecting vaccination warrants on religious grounds. “

Jonna finally said that morality is a personal belief.

“What your church leaders are saying, what your church hierarchy is saying is not really relevant,” Jonna said. “The school district cannot require your priest or your bishop or anyone else to approve it. It is a matter of personal faith.”

In response, Mark Bresee, the attorney representing the San Diego Unified School District, sent ABC 10News this statement:

We expect the brief court order issued last night to be short-lived, and the main takeaway is that the court appears poised to meet the district’s vaccination mandate in the face of many lines of attack.

Regarding the issue of postponement of pregnancy that the court addressed in its brief order, the district has already taken steps to remove the option to request postponement during pregnancy and is in the process of advising. the tribunal. We therefore expect the injunction to be terminated soon. No request for postponement of pregnancy having been received, the action had no impact on any student and, in any case, the plaintiff is not requesting a postponement but seeks to be exempted from the mandate.

The district is pleased that the majority have signaled that their full opinion will confirm that plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits once the court’s concerns over an option to postpone the pregnancy are resolved. The district modeled its vaccine mandate on applicable state law, including the narrow and objective process of seeking and obtaining medical exemption when vaccination would pose a risk to the health and safety of the person. the pupil. The decision to impose vaccination only after full FDA approval is also consistent with the district’s focus on the health and safety of individual students. The body of state law used as a model, which contains a medical exemption but no exemption for religious or personal beliefs, has already been upheld in a federal court. Whitlow v. Cal. Dep’t of Educ., 203 F.Supp.3d 1079 (SD Cal. 2016). More recently, the United States Supreme Court refused to ban an employee vaccination warrant with a much broader medical exemption and no religious exemption. Does 1-3 v. Mills, 2021 WL 5027177 (October 29, 2021). The district’s position is that its carefully and narrowly designed student vaccine mandate is constitutional based on the current Supreme Court precedent.

Marc Bresee


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