Some Long Island parents urge Hochul not to mandate vaccines for young students

Stacey Sager Image
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Some LI parents urge Hochul not to mandate vaccines for students
As more kids line up for COVID vaccines, some Lindenhurst parents on Long Island are urging the governor not to make those vaccinations mandatory.

LINDENHURST, Long Island (WABC) -- A group of parents is fighting to keep their children unvaccinated at a school district on Long Island as the district is asking the governor not to mandate the vaccine for students.

You don't have to look farther than dismissal in Lindenhurst for strong opinions about the COVID vaccine for school kids ages 5 to 11.

"I definitely don't think the school building should be used as a vaccine site and I seriously don't believe children at that age should be vaccinated," said parent Bill Schutt.

In fact, as many schools in New York City offer the vaccine on site, in the Lindenhurst district and some others, administrators are finding themselves grappling with the pushback.

Dr. Mary O'Meara, the school superintendent in Plainview-Old Bethpage, said they aren't ready to offer young kids the vaccine in their schools either.

"The delicate balance is being misunderstood as a district that's promoting something as opposed to providing a convenience for families," O'Meara said.

But Lindenhurst is taking things a step further - the school board wrote a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul against any vaccine mandate in schools.

It says, "legislation of this type would be an infringement upon parental rights and would unnecessarily put strain on the emotional well-being of our students and the financial well-being of this district."

The letter suggests students would not enroll in the district if they were required to get the vaccine.

Hochul responded on Tuesday.

"Right now, looking at the opportunity for parents to step up and do the right thing, that's where I want leave the decision making," Hochul said. "I'm certainly going to keep all options on the table."

It's important to point out that not all Lindenhurst parents are anti-mandate.

"It's something we're working on as a community to bring the pro-science voices to the forefront," said parent Melody Butler who is a mother of four and a registered nurse.

Butler's younger kids will be vaccinated this week, but not Schutt's kids -- he said no way.

"Vaccines for kids at this age is not necessary," Schutt said.

He said he himself has been vaccinated.

ALSO READ | Vaccinated 5- to 11-year-olds in New York eligible for full scholarship to SUNY or CUNY schools

The "Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate" scholarship is a five-week-long statewide outreach program incentivizing parents to vaccinate their children.


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