Court rules California school districts can’t independently mandate Covid vax for students

by WorldTribune Staff / 247 Real News November 24, 2022

An appeals court has ruled that California school districts do not have the authority to individually impose Covid-19 vaccine mandates on students.

The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Appellate District ruled that the Golden State’s 1,000-plus school districts can’t impose the vax mandate, even if limited to extracurricular activities.

The judges rejected the San Diego Unified School District’s argument that it didn’t actually impose a mandate, just gave students “the choice to either [get vaccinated] or be enrolled in independent study” remotely.

This is like a school cafeteria “offering a choice between Brussels sprouts or broccoli,” the court’s ruling says, adding “we doubt that students and their parents perceive a real choice” between in-person learning and independent study, which is “likely … a step backwards” for some students.

Anti-mandate group Let Them Choose and an unidentified parent on behalf of their child separately sued San Diego Unified to block a September 2021 “Vaccination Roadmap” which required students 16 and up to receive Covid vaccines as a condition of in-person class attendance and extracurricular activities such as sports.

State regulations do much more than “merely” establishing minimum vaccination requirements, “creating a process by which new immunizations can be added to the statutory list without further legislative action.” That constitutes a “directive” for statewide criteria, and the state regulator agrees, the court said.

The appellate judges said the district conflated the legal right to administer vaccines — which also requires parental consent — with its right to impose new mandates. “Thus, even if interpreted as the District claims it should be, it would not authorize involuntary Covid-19 vaccination involved in this case,” the court said.

Under the court’s ruling, the only avenue for mandates is through the school vaccination schedule, which is controlled by the Democrat-dominated state Legislature and Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Even if the state’s Department of Public Health added the Covid jab to the school vaccination schedule, regulations provide for personal-belief exemptions, a court footnote reads. Because the San Diego district’s roadmap lacks this exemption, “it is even more restrictive than what the DPH itself could lawfully impose.”

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