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As the number of home-schooling families in America increases, is there a growing chance that there will be forced vaccinations for home-schoolers?
The answer is maybe. New Jersey Bill A-3818m introduced in April, would require a family applying for a religious exemption to provide a notarized letter, explaining why vaccinations pose a conflict, along with a statement that any religious beliefs are because of that family’s “concerns about the safety of vaccines.”
Last year, Oklahoma legislature passed a controversial bill that tightened exemptions for vaccinations. An outbreak of whooping cough in Lane County, Oregon this past spring caused the Bend Bulletin to publish an editorial asking for tighter vaccination rules in Oregon,
The debate on the safety of vaccinations is not a new one to the home-schooling community. In fact, some parents consider the freedom to not vaccinate their children as an important part of their decision to home-school.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommends that you give children age newborn to age six 29 doses of nine different vaccines (plus a yearly flu shot after six months). While no current federal laws require vaccination in the U.S, all 50 states mandate certain vaccinations for public school attendance. Many offer medical and religious exemptions. A few allow philosophical exemptions.
What’s the nature of the “forced vaccinations for home-schoolers” debate?
fsay that vaccinations have saved millions of children from getting life-threatening diseases. These include smallpox, polio, whooping cough, and rubella. They claim that negative reactions to them are rare. Opponents, on the other hand, say that vaccinations can inhibit a child’s natural immune system. They also claim that certain vaccine ingredients may cause serious health problems such as autism, diabetes and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Your decision to home-school your children should not be based upon the vaccinations issue. However, if you already feel led to teach your children at home for its solid educational and spiritual benefits, you should be aware that home-schooling does not automatically exempt you from immunization requirements.
In fact, in some states, home-schoolers must follow the same immunization laws as children who attend public school. Additionally, kids who wish to participate in sports programs or other activities in their communities may need to show proof of vaccinations. Home-schooled teens who go on to attend community college and university also may face vaccination requirements.
What can you do?
Not all home-schoolers feel the same way about vaccinations. Some follow their pediatrician’s recommended schedule. Others prefer a delayed or less aggressive schedule for the shots. Still, others prefer to opt out of certain vaccinations.
However, most Christian home-schoolers should agree that they appreciate the freedom of deciding what is best for the health of their families. The Bible is clear that the family and the church that should govern matters regarding health.
For example, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 states: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
To fight forced vaccinations for home-schoolers, first find out the laws in your state. Then, contact your local or state homeschool group. Also, check out resources provided by the National Conference on State Legislatures and the HSLDA website.