New York mother Marina Williams has taken the Orchard Park School District to court after her two children were removed from class because their vaccines were not up to date. According to Williams, her 13 and 15-year-olds are exempt from vaccinations for religious reasons. They have now been out of school for two months since moving from West Seneca to Orchard Park, a Buffalo suburb, in October. Although her children were granted a religious exemption when they attended West Seneca School District for some reason Orchard Park has denied it.
Williams said her religion prohibits putting foreign substances into the body (including drugs, alcohol, and vaccines) and that The Orchard Park school system is essentially asking her to go against her faith and everything she believes in.
Court documents filed in Erie Supreme Court by lawyer Frank Housh note that both of Williams’s children had an “exceptional academic record and no health problems”1 when they were removed from school. The suit goes on to claim that the school district had “made no alternative educational arrangements for the children and made no ‘allowance for receipt of homework, tutoring, distance learning, or any alternative accommodation.’”1 Something the law says they cannot refuse.
Lastly, the lawsuit alleges that the district has “harassed Williams by phone, threatening to call Erie County Child Protection Services and have the children removed from her custody.”1
Williams says she is not part of any anti-vaccine movement but that she’s also never had to justify her stance. She said, “I’ve never had a vaccine before. My mother, my sister, my aunt, haven’t either. To me, that was just a given. I’ve never had to defend it before.”1
The girls will not be allowed to return to school until the courts have come to a decision, which could take as long as eight months to finalize. We will update you as soon as we know more.