Mom fights school over immunizations

August 13, 2008 4:06:46 PM PDT
A mother on Long Island is fighting the Bayport/Blue Point board of education to let her son begin 6th grade without his immunizations.Rita Palma, who is Catholic, says the vaccinations are against her religious beliefs. She claims vaccinations amount to a mistrust in God.

As of Tuesday night, the school board had yet to make a decision about 11-year-old Jakob, who attends the James Wilson Young Middle School.

The school board has allowed religious or medical exemptions in the past.

"I'm pro choice," Palma said Tuesday night during a school board meeting. "And my choice is to keep my body and my soul and the bodies and souls of my children clean."

"Vaccinations represent fear, anxiety and mistrust in God," Palma said in a letter to school officials, obtained by Newsday. "Mankind states that if we do not vaccinate our child he/she may become sick and die. Mankind also states that an unvaccinated child may cause others to become sick and die. This principle contradicts the peace and balance that I seek in my journey to God. It also contradicts the love I feel for mankind as an instrument of Jesus Christ."

Newsday reports that Palma had applied for a waiver for another son, now-8-year-old Lucas, in 2006, but was denied. She appealed, the newspaper said, but the board's decision was upheld by the state Commissioner of Education. She has since had Lucas and another son, now-12-year-old Joseph, immunized, a decision that she said caused her great pain, according to the paper.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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