LOS ANGELES—Two nonprofit groups representing parents of nearly 1,500 Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students are asking a judge to nullify the district’s student vaccine mandate, saying such decisions are up to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
“This case presents a clear instance of a local education agency acting far in excess of its lawful jurisdiction and authority under state law,” according to the Los Angeles Superior Court petition brought Oct. 13 by the California Chapter of Children’s Health Defense (CHD-CA) as well as a second group, Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids (PERK).
About 930 LAUSD parents are members of PERK and another 540 are members of CHD-CA, according to the petition, which asks a judge to issue temporary restraining orders and permanent injunctions directing the district to set aside its Sept. 9 mandate.
An LAUSD representative couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
The LAUSD student vaccine mandate requires students 12 years and older, as a condition of continuing their in-person education, to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine by specified dates during the fall term.
With no COVID-19 vaccine requirement prior to starting school with in-person learning in August, LAUSD students didn’t experience severe COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, or death, the petition states.
“Given this, 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, or why [LAUSD] chose to impose this onerous and educationally disruptive requirement right in the middle of a school term,” the petition states.
The vaccine requirement will hit low-income families hard, because they may have fewer resources to find alternative private school or homeschooling options, the petition states.
“Even more appallingly … the requirement would apply to children between 12 and 15 years old, despite the lack of any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine for students under 16 years of age,” the petition further states.
While Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Oct. 1 that the coronavirus vaccine was being added to other immunizations required for in-person school attendance, Newsom also recognizes that the CDPH is the only proper agency authorized by law to add a new vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule, according to the petition.
LAUSD “is neither the proper agency to add a new vaccine requirement as a condition to in-person education, nor did [LAUSD] follow the proper procedures and necessary safeguards for doing so,” the petition states.