Judge Denies Application to Halt Vaccine Mandate for LA Students 12 and Up

By Alice Sun
Alice Sun
Alice Sun
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 2, 2021

A Los Angeles Superior Court Judge denied on Oct. 29 an emergency application to pause the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all students 12 and older in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

As a result, unvaccinated students can still attend school in person until January next year, but may be excluded from extracurricular activities.

The two non-profit organizations, Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids and About Children’s Health Defense–California Chapter, filed a court petition representing over a thousand families in LAUSD to halt the enforcement of the vaccine mandate.

Attorney Nicole Pearson went to court last Friday and filed an emergency application on behalf of the two organizations.

Judge Amy Hogue denied the request but granted an opportunity for them to seek a preliminary injunction through an expedited hearing.

“Balancing the likelihood of success and the relative harm to be suffered, the court is not persuaded emergency relief is warranted,” wrote Judge Hogue. “There is accordingly no emergency with respect to the students’ ability to attend classes in person.”

Judge Hogue explained that the resolution’s immediate impact on unvaccinated students is only the exclusion from extracurricular activities, but the LAUSD facilities will remain accessible for them until Jan. 10, 2022.

She emphasized that suspending the resolution will bring more harm to LAUSD.

In mid-September, Pearson submitted a letter to the LA City Board of Education on Monday, Sept. 13, referring to the vaccine mandate as “illegal, unconstitutional and must be retracted by close of business Friday of this week.”

The board did not respond to the letter, and the two organizations decided to file a petition in October.

The petition questioned the transparency of LAUSD’s decision-making process and stressed that school district has no authority to mandate a new vaccine as a precondition for in-person education if it is not listed in the California Health and Safety Code.

“They [LAUSD] have a special meeting with less than 40 hours notice. They held it remotely. They limited public speaking. … everything you can imagine violation is endless.” Pearson said in a recorded Oct. 29 livestream on Instagram.

She also questioned the timing and motives behind the mandate.

Pearson said in the video that the school district has used the students as a “little placeholder” because they waited until enrollment numbers were submitted for funding to announce whether they will mandate the COVID-19 vaccination.

“With no COVID-19 vaccine requirement prior to starting school, LAUSD students have not experienced severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, or death,” the petition stated.

“It is incomprehensible that a state that already has the lowest COVID-19 rates in the entire country without any vaccine mandate would insist on being the first state in the nation to impose a vaccine requirement on healthy teens and pre-teens as a condition to continuing in-person education.”

A spokesperson for LAUSD was not immediately available for comment.

Alice Sun