Child Turned Away From West Ada School Over Vaccinations 

A child was turned away from a west Boise elementary school Aug. 23 when his parents failed to provide proof of proper vaccinations or an exemption form.

"I came this morning with my little 5-year-old, and they denied my parent-signed immunization exemption statement, and have told me he is not allowed to attend here unless I have signed a form that does not allow me to actually make a statement on [it]," said Sara Walton Brady in a YouTube video disseminated online by Health Freedom Idaho.

Eric Exline, a spokesperson for the West Ada School District, confirmed the child had been denied enrollment at Ustick Elementary School due to lack of appropriate vaccination documentation.

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND
  • Adam Rosenlund
He said statements by parents explaining why they have not pursued immunizations for their children are accepted by school districts during enrollment—there is a space provided on the form itself, and longer statements can be appended to the exemption—but even signed memos from parents must include the official form, which is available through the office of the school nurse.

"[Brady] didn't provide documentation," Exline said.

The purpose of the exemption form is to allow school districts to track students who have vaccinations; students who, for medical reasons, cannot receive vaccinations; and others whose parents have elected not to vaccinate their children. While that information may not have day-to-day significance for students, teachers or parents, Exline said, it's useful to know when it comes to protecting vulnerable students during a disease outbreak.

In a blog post about the incident on the Health Freedom Idaho website, HFI cites Idaho Code, claiming there is no basis in Idaho law for requiring parents to fill out a specific form. It refers to Idaho Statute 39-4802, which says parents may receive non-medical exemptions for their children based "religious or other grounds," provided the parent has "submitted a signed statement to school officials."

The official form, according to the post, "is not required by law and parents don't want to use it. By law, they don't have to."

That claim is false. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare administrative rules (IDAPA) stipulate parents must fill out a IDHW form that includes the name and date of birth of the student in addition to a "statement of objection on religious or philosophical grounds."
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